Eliza Greenman

Eliza Greenman

Up in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Southwestern Virginia, I am the owner of a small fruit tree company, Legacy Fruit Trees- where I specialize in custom grafting and growing hard cider apple varieties (for now). This year, my first year, I’ve pre-sold 4000 trees which I’ll graft, grow, dig and ship in the coming months. Two days a week, I manage Foggy Ridge Cider’s 18-year-old, 8 acre hard cider orchard which contains 40 varieties of apples noted by people like Thomas Jefferson for making the highest quality cider.

Every day of working in the orchards is a learning experience because each variety wants to grow differently. When I’m not grafting and growing trees for other people, I’m grafting and growing trees for my future fruit and nut orchards (4 acres this year, many acres to follow). I currently have a collection of 650 apple varieties and have plans to design and plant a commercial-scale fruit and nut forest using a diversity of apple genetics and native Appalachian species.

Last year I moved back to Virginia (my home state) to start my businesses and orchards after many years spent in Maine, where I developed my passion and purpose for growing fruit and nut trees. My interest started on a small apple-tree-covered island in Maine and expanded to include MOFGA’s Apprentice and Journeyperson programs, where I steeped myself in the culture of apples.

Eliza Greenman bio- Foggy Ridge Orchards

Foggy Ridge Orchards

After 6 years of immersion, incubation, management and experiments, I received an opportunity to move back to Virginia where I could pursue my life goals of unlocking the potential of old varieties and bringing heirloom fruits back to the general public.

Many of the fruits I associate myself with have genetic resistances and tolerances to diseases facing the East Coast (even the South) and they are also purposeful- contributing to the best fresh eating and value added products one could consume. Hard cider is a product I specialize in, but I can also recommend handfuls of varieties which will make the best apple pies, apple molasses, mince meat, apple sauce, dried apples, and many other products.

The future orchard site

The future orchard site

In the next few years, my trees will start to produce and I look forward to having people try these exceptional varieties. Perhaps they will like them so much that they will want a tree of that variety growing in their yard. And perhaps I can tell them how best that tree wants to be grown. Retelling history, preserving ancient genetics, producing high quality ingredients, and creating lasting relationships with our surroundings can all be brought about with an apple tree. And that’s why I love what I do.

Comments
5 Responses to “Introducing Eliza Greenman, Owner/Operator of Legacy Fruit Trees in Virginia”
  1. This is a well-written and inspiring story.

    I wish you the very best with your apple dreams, Eliza.

    The mention of apple molasses has me yearning to make some this fall!

  2. Bill says:

    Eliza,
    Great story! I am a student (non-traditional) at the Stockbridge School at UMass. My daughter is an upcoming sophomore at UMO struggling to find a major. I would really like to be able to give her a look at what you are doing. Do you have a website? My daughter grew up in Maine but has not been introduced to agriculture. I want her to see someone from her age group doing something beyond Sociology!

    Thanks,
    -Bill-

  3. Hi Bill,

    I’ve started a blog to try and provide a glimpse (and the process) of what I’m doing. It’s a bit haphazard and in the beginning stages but feel free to share with your daughter. I am always looking to recruit young people, so if she has the interest I can connect her with some really great and knowledgeable people in Maine/New Hampshire (or she can come down and visit Virginia). Feel free to contact me: trees@foggyridgecider.com.

  4. Matt says:

    So inspiring eliza! Starting to experiment with grafting myself. What type of grafting are you finding to be the most effective? Ie: bench, bud etc

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