History and Heritage:
Corey T. McCleaf is a 5th generation farmer on McCleaf’s Orchard. His family started the farm, originally known as the Rice Farm, in 1888 in Biglerville, PA, although his family’s heritage of farming in Adams County, PA dates back much further.
On our 52 acre historic farm we grow apples, peaches, plums, apricots, pears, cherries, pluots, kiwi berries, other unique fruit offerings as well as a wide variety of vegetables and herbs. We strongly believe in creating a biologically diverse farm, creating natural protection for our fruits and vegetables, while keeping our minds always stimulated with something new to learn! As you’ll soon see with a visit out to the farm, we put an emphasis on constant innovation in growing, evidenced by our high tunnel and grow tunnel structures, use of natural and organic methods, inventions for planting and cultivation, and always evovling seed varieties. We find agriculture to be constantly stimulating and hope you will join with us in the wonderful learning (and eating!) experience.
We have a strong committment to growing our food as sustainably as possible. We practice Integrated Pest Management (IPM), minimizing the use of chemicals by reducing destructive insects in the orchards, while at the same time maintaining a health quality product. IPM utilizes reproduction disruption, effective planting, growing and harvesting techniques and other less toxic means of pest control. With IPM we can bring a holistic and healthful approach to growing the highest quality produce. We are also proudly Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) certified.
It all begins with the soil, and we believe such an important resource should be well stewarded and constantly renewed replenished. We create fertility by amending our fields with organic matter/compost, using natural based fertilizers, practicing a strict crop rotation, and ulitize a unqiue system of cover cropping.
Cover crops are a wonderful way to make sure our plants have everything they need. Each year, we send half of our vegetable production fields on vacation. That means, for an entire year, they are planted in a diverse selection of cover crops, providing the soil much needed rest from the previous year’s production and preparing the same land for the following year’s bounty. These crops are incorporated into the soil, feeding it, rather than being removed and harvest. Covers not only aid in creating fertility, but also prevent erosion, improve deep soil structure, and increase the biodiversity of the farm by attracting beneficial insects.
Our commitment to sustainable farming and providing great produce for generations is made evident by our farm being designated a Pennsylvania Preserved Farm in 2008.
Visit their website at www.mccleafsorchard.com.