itt Orchards is a small family-owned
operation located 8.6 miles North of
Oak Harbor, Ohio.
Witt Orchards was founded by Robert and Carolyn Witt shortly after they moved into their current home as newlyweds in 1961.
The home which is also the main location of the orchard operations is located at 8060 West Titus Road in Oak Harbor, Ohio 43449. When Robert and Carolyn moved onto the property they started out as renters that were tasked with helping to care for the preexisting old standard apple and peach orchard that had been started by the previous owners. Soon the Witts’ were able to purchase the home and orchard; this was the unofficial start of the Witt Orchards business.
At Witt’s home on Titus, there is not only an orchard but also our packing house and cider mill. Yep, that’s right we press our own cider! It has taken a lot of trial and error to figure out just which apple varieties to smash together to make our award-winning cider taste so good, but it was worth it. One sip and you will taste the difference, this is not the stuff you get off the shelf at the grocery store! You just cannot beat fresh-pressed, nothing added and made from homegrown tree-ripened fruit. Pure and simple the way it’s supposed to be!
As the years passed Robert and Carolyn not only worked to grow the orchard, they also saw the growth of their family, adding two sets of helping hands, Robert Jr., and Barry Witt. As the boys grew up into young men the Witt family also grew the business by purchasing three more plots of land all located within a few miles of each other, the largest on Genzman Road, the smallest on State Route 2, and the oldest on North Toussaint South Road.
The current 38-acre orchard on North Toussaint South Road is the oldest not by the number of years it has been owned by just Robert and Carolyn but by the number of years the property has been in Carolyn’s family. The original 80-acre plot was acquired by Adam in 1834. The family has continuously farmed this land every year since! Most of this land has continually sustained a fruit orchard for over 180 years. Two of the old standard apple trees planted by Carolyn’s grandfather, Harvey (Harve), still remain in production on the property today.
The State Route 2 location is the current home of the family’s Farm Market. While our market may look small from the outside, on the inside it is filled to the brim with fresh local produce and tons of other snacks and goodies. Our market was built with hard work, determination, and a whole lot of love. These are the same core values that have now been passed on to Robert and Carolyn’s granddaughters, Heather, and Madison.
Well over the years, the orchards have transitioned from standard trees to semi-dwarf trees and now to a few new trellis tree systems. In keeping with the times, advances in farming have brought to light the concern for better food safety practices, and rest assured Witt Orchards has gone to great lengths to keep our customers as safe as possible.
Some of these updates include the addition of a Flash Pasteurizer to kill any bad bacteria that could find its way into our cider. This machine heats the cider up to 165°F for 6 seconds (the state-required minimum) before cooling it back down to preserve the taste and quality of our cider while still giving you a slightly longer self-life (in your refrigerator) before it starts to turn into hard cider. We added an inline, automated, sanitizer dosing system for our processing water to ensure our wash water is as clean as possible. We have also replaced our apple grading line with a new top notch machine that takes pictures of each apple across four different camera spectrums in addition to an internal scanner and weight sensor!
The computer on the grading line then takes all information gathered from the scans and pictures, turns it into a score, and determines if the apple is good or bad, big or small, fully colored or still green, and even if there is a defect on the inside of the apple-like watercore or rote. The computer then sends the good apples to the right packing lane based on how the apple scored. After being double-checked by our staff our apples our packed up and ready for market. How neat is that! All of this means higher accuracy in sorting out the lesser quality apples and it can be done in half the time it used to take.
Now the year is 2020 and we currently grow apples from A to Z and every letter in between! How? Well, we grow over 100 different varieties of apples throughout the season and we are always planting new ones every spring. We also grow over 20 different varieties of pears including several varieties of Asian Pears. In addition to the apples and pears, we grow plums, peaches, nectarines, apricots, and more.
These days all of the Witt family help with the orchard from time to time even the newest additions to the family. The fourth generation of farmers at Witt Orchards: Brantlee, Addaline, and the newest little one Woodson. These three little helpers are arguably the cutest of the family and the most fun to talk to by far! Once you meet them, you’ll know exactly what I mean.
While none of us know what the future has in store, we can only hope that it's full of love, family, friends, and a whole lot of apples!
Until next time we thank you for your business,
we hope you and yours take care, stay safe
and we look forward to seeing you