Evolving to Thrive: Aaron Family Orchards is growing apples & agritourism in the North Georgia Mountains
The Farm Monitor takes us to Aaron Family Orchards in Ellijay, Georgia, where they are sprouting with fun activities, flowers, and family traditions!
Aaron Family Orchards has been a staple in the Ellijay community for decades, but more recently, it has become a thriving hotspot and a destination for many in the region around them. In a recent report, John Holcomb with The Farm Monitor’ takes us on a journey through the evolution of this family orchard that not only grows an abundance of apples but has also become a regional agritourism destination.
The orchard itself dates back to 1938 when Joshua Aaron’s great-grandparents purchased the property. Initially, the family business focused on wholesale. However, the business has continued to grow over the last 85 years thanks to the family’s willingness to adapt as a business. Exploring new avenues to keep the orchard thriving, their fourth-generation operator, Joshua Aaron, shifted their focus to retail sales.
Aaron reflects on the history of the orchard, noting its humble beginnings in 1944 with the opening of Aaron’s Apple House. Over the years, the orchard has witnessed shifts in the market, compelling it to diversify their offerings.
As the fourth-generation leader, Aaron has embraced the changing market dynamics by introducing various attractions, such as a U-pick flower patch, canned jams and jellies, baked goods, and an array of Appalachian-themed items in their store. The addition of a U-pick flower patch this year proved to be a resounding success, signaling a positive direction for the orchard’s future.
Aaron emphasizes the importance of adapting to change in agriculture, drawing parallels to the lessons taught to young, inspiring agriculturalists through programs like FFA and 4-H — that is, “better days through better ways or to make the best better.”
Looking ahead, the orchard aims to create a family-friendly environment, providing diverse activities for visitors to create lasting memories and establish new traditions.