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The shifting landscape of Eastern Panhandle agriculture

By DANYEL VanREENEN

The Journal

The George Orr & Sons Orchard blossoms pink and white in the early spring.
(Photo courtesy of Storyteller Photography: Images by Rebecca)

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. — On a bright, cold day before spring, Stephen Miller, owner of Rellim Orchard in Jefferson County, reminisced about “the good old days” of Jefferson County farming and orchards. He recalled the land that used to be full of carefully pruned fruit trees, and he named the land that has now been taken over by housing developments.

Miller can remember the large regional West Virginia Horticultural Society meetings with more than 300 members, and the local fruit grower’s meetings with at least 60-70 farmers and agriculturalists at every gathering.

Now, he said the groups are lucky to get even a handful of attendees and growers.

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