The Multigenerational Farmers
Shirley and Carol Butler, and dog Skip, in 1964. Photo courtesy of Butler's Orchard
Butler’s Orchard may be known for its festivals and field trips, but it’s foremost a family affair. Three generations of Butlers work on the 300-acre farm, and they all live on the property or within a five-minute drive.
“We have a very close family,” says Hallie Butler-Van Horn, purchasing manager and granddaughter of co-founder Shirley Butler, who still works in the office and walks her dog every day on the farm.
In 1950, Shirley and George Butler bought the farm’s original 37 acres, and their children Susan and Wade have stayed with it. Last year, Susan Butler retired from the family farm, but not from agriculture; she runs the neighboring Waters Orchard with her husband. Wade serves as Butler’s farm manager, and his children, Hallie, Tyler and Ben, all have managerial roles.
As for the future, a fourth generation of Butlers is busy germinating. Hallie has a young daughter, and at press time, her brother Tyler and his wife had one on the way.
Butler’s Orchard hosts numerous events, offers pick-your-own fruits and vegetables, and runs a large farm market.
22222 Davis Mill Road, Germantown | 301-972-3299 | butlersorchard.com
The Prolific Produce Farmers
Right next to Kingsbury’s Orchard, at the corner of Darnestown and Peach Tree roads, sits the Lewis Orchards farm market, a busy place with a loyal following and retail roots that began decades ago as a shed. Owners Robert and Linda Lewis live on the adjacent farm, which was started in 1888 by Robert’s great-grandparents, who farmed hay and cattle. In 1932, Robert Lewis’ grandmother was one of the founders of the Montgomery Farm Women’s Cooperative Market in Bethesda.
The fourth generation Lewis farm has grown into one of the county’s largest produce operations, wholesaling about
40 percent of its goods to other stands, such as Norman’s Farm Market and Potomac Farm Market. The property includes 30 acres of fruit trees, 100 acres of sweet corn, and 100 acres of pumpkins; about 35,000 tomato plants go in the ground each year, along with cucumbers, squash, eggplant, green beans and more. And it looks like Lewis produce will be growing even more plentiful. In November, the couple bought an additional 400 acres in Montgomery County, close to White’s Ferry.
Lewis Orchards’ farm market opens in June.
18901 Peach Tree Road, Dickerson, 301-349-4101, lewisorchardfarmmarket.com