The history of our farm started in 1919. Clark Fetters arrived and settled in the Mount Newman area of Adams County, PA (relocated here from Ohio) Later he would purchase a farm on Mount Tabor Road, Gardners, PA. As was common throughout the early 1900s, his farm had cattle, hogs, and poultry. Clark and Beulah Cullison, his wife, raised a family of nine children.
Out of those nine children, Donald born 1913, would purchase a 56-acre farm from Harry Wolfe, located on Hill View Road, Gardners, PA in 1935. A year later, Donald married Ethel Starner and started a family on the homestead, which would grow to include seven children. In the early 1940s Clark and Donald would purchase a 267-acre portion of the Robert Eldon farm near Aspers, PA. They would continue farming cattle, hogs, and poultry throughout this time. They became good friends with local nurserymen and neighbors, Henry and George Baugher, who are credited with encouraging our family to plant their first orchard. Clark and Donald would eventually adapt their farms into bearing fruit which included: apples, cherries, pears, plums and peaches.
Beginning in 1940 as a means to supplement farm income and provide needed service to neighbors, Donald purchased a truck with which he hauled coal, grain, lumber and fruit. Later, he also purchased a school bus for transporting children to school in the Upper Adams School District for many years. During World War II he used the bus to transport women from communities in Cumberland and Perry counties to employment at the Knouse Foods plant in Peach Glen, PA. The bus was also used to transport young area residents to and from local orchards during the harvest season.
In 1960, Donald added 100 acres to his original farm, purchased from Carl Black, located on Hill View Road, Gardners, PA. Out of the seven children Donald and Ethel raised, Clair graduated from high school in 1957 and would join his father in the family business. Donald and Clair entered into a partnership in 1969 (Fetters Orchards) and continued to grow fruit on all the family farms.
Clair would purchase a 100-acre farm, located on Cottage Hill Road, Gardners, PA. There he started his own fruit farm, in addition to working with Donald on the land they shared together. Clair married Winnie Hinkle in 1957, they would raise three children: Christine, Tony and David.
Terry, another son of Donald and Ethel, joined the family business in 1982. After the death of Donald in 1985, Clair and Terry continued the family legacy as a partnership. In 1984 they purchased 350 acres farm from C.H. Musselman Company orchards on Mount Tabor Road, Gardners, PA. During this time the two brothers would transform the farms into producing fruit that was delivered to Knouse Foods Cooperative for processing. Both Donald and Clair served on the board of directors of the Cooperative.
After the death of Clair in 1996, his oldest son Tony would join Terry in partnership of Fetters Orchards. Tony also assumed the management of Clair’s personal farm. With the changing demands of the fresh fruit market, the farms would again diversify into planting cherries, plums, apricots, peaches, nectarines, and a wide variety of apples.
With a growing demand of buying local and direct, Tony and David partnered in 2010 to start selling fruit directly through open air farmers’ markets. David handles the retail business, where Tony is in charge of daily production on the farm. They attend farmers’ markets throughout Maryland and Northern Virginia. In 2013 they purchased a retail location in Carlisle, PA naming it ‘ Clair’s Orchard ’ – as a tribute to their late father.
For four generations, the Fetters Family have farmed the rolling hills of northern Adams County. We are proud to share the history and the story of our farm.