Butler’s Orchard Co-Owner to Retire
Third generation family farm begins its 66th year
GERMANTOWN, MD (January 29, 2016) Greater Washington area residents have counted on Butler’s Orchard for farm-fresh produce and family-focused seasonal events for more than 65 years. Their success has been a collaboration between three generations of the Butler family that began with parents George and Shirley Butler, included brother Todd Butler, now deceased, and continues today with siblings and co-owners, Susan and Wade Butler.
This December — after 35 years in her role — Susan Butler will retire from her responsibilities at Butler’s Orchard.
“Susan’s contributions to the business have been invaluable,” Wade said. “Thanks to her commitment, leadership and horticultural expertise, we have continuously expanded our offerings to local families while being excellent stewards of this 300-acre farm.”
Susan and Wade agree that Butler’s Orchard is more than a family farm, it’s a family legacy.
Susan is Butler’s Orchard’s Business and Market Manager. She earned her bachelor’s degree in Horticulture at the University of Maryland, and then worked for an apple grower in Washington State before returning to the family farm.
“Todd, Wade and I have grown the business significantly, exceeding our parents’ dreams for this land and our family,” Susan said. “My retirement opens up new opportunities for the third generation. My mother, Shirley, together with my brother, Wade and his three children, will move the farm forward and will continue the tradition of welcoming families to Butler’s Orchard for many generations yet to come.”
In retirement, Susan will join her husband, Washington White, at their neighboring farm, Waters Orchard. The seasonal, pick-your-own-apple orchard fills a niche in the local community and continues to fulfill Susan’s love of the land. “This planned transition will allow me time to travel, raise guide dog puppies, and enjoy a different pace of life.”
ABOUT BUTLER’S ORCHARD
Butler’s Orchard is a third-generation family farm and market in Germantown, Maryland, cultivating more than 25 varieties of fruits, vegetables, flowers, and trees on more than 300 acres. The Butler family pioneered the “Pick Your Own” business, opening their farm for public picking in the 1950s. In addition to seasonal picking, the business hosts seasonal events for Greater Washington area families and groups, including Evening Hayrides and Bonfires, Strawberry Blossom Tours, Pick Your Own Group Outings, Bunnyland, and Pumpkin Harvest Days. Visit online at www.ButlersOrchard.com.
Media contact: Maureen Filberg at Info@ButlersOrchard.com or 301-428-0444 for media inquiries.
Right after graduating, George and Shirley Butler purchased a 37 acre farm with a log house, where the Butler family grew up. Initially we grew 25 acres of peaches and sold them to a local grocery store and at our own small farm market. Now, we have more than 25 varieties of fruits, vegetables, flowers, and trees on over 300 acres! Three Butler children earned horticultural degrees from the University of Maryland and lived and worked on the family farm. (The other sister chose the corporate life!) Sadly, the family lost Todd Butler in 2010. He started growing pumpkins as a High School project and this led to our popular Pumpkin Harvest Days and Pumpkin Festival traditions. Currently, the third generation is coming on board. Hallie Butler is working in the Farm Market while her brothers, Tyler and Ben Butler are learning and working farm operations. All are eager to continue the family business.
The Farm Market
Our Farm Market started under an apple tree behind the log house selling peaches. Later, it moved to a former chicken house that still stands on the property as a garage. The red barn was built in 1964 and over the years we increased the variety of seasonal fruits and vegetables we grew and sold. In the 1970’s, we began selling additional products in our Farm Market, including preserves, local honey, gourmet condiments, seasonal decorative items, cider, and more! In 1993, we outgrew our original red barn and expanded the Farm Market to the current facility that you can visit today.
The first field of strawberries was planted in 1953 on the site of the present market. Pick your own fruit was a new concept in the area, but soon became very popular. Thornless blackberries and black raspberries were planted in the 1970’s, followed by blueberries, peas, cherries, red raspberries, and apples. We started selling pick your own pumpkins as a project for a high school class. That project led us to create Pumpkinland, a display of fairy tale characters built out of pumpkins, with more added every year. It is one of our biggest attractions and draws families from all over the Washington metropolitan area every October to enjoy the hayrides, giant slides, pony rides, pumpkins, straw maze, delicious country food, and of course, Pumpkinland! Cut your own Christmas Trees became available in the late 1970’s. We also began carrying holiday ornaments, fresh roping and wreaths in the farm market. We now have thousands of White Pine and Douglas Fir trees to choose from every year. At the request of our customers, we have added a number of activities visitors can enjoy throughout the year, including Group Hayrides and Bonfires, Strawberry Blossom Tours, Group Pick Your Own Outings, Bunnyland, and Pumpkin Harvest Days.
Meet The Staff
Shirley Butler (affectionately known as Mrs. B) Farm Founder Mrs. B grew up in Silver Spring and graduated from Pennsylvania State University. After graduation, she and her husband, George Butler (who passed away several years ago), purchased the farm’s original 37 acres. George and Shirley were pioneers in the Pick Your Own Business, opening their farm for public picking in the 1950’s. As matriarch of Butler’s Orchard, Mrs. B has been, and continues to be, involved in every phase of development and growth at Butler’s Orchard, and continues to work in the office. You may have seen her in her golf cart with her dog while visiting our farm.
Wade ButlerFarm OwnerWade is the Farm Manager and a second generation Butler. After earning a degree at the University of Maryland in Pomology (the science and practice of growing fruit), he returned to the farm. Wade’s passion for agriculture is evidenced by his many years of successful farming and the growth of Butler’s Orchard, as well as through his local community work. Over the years, he has served on the boards of the Montgomery Soil Conservation District, Montgomery Agricultural Advisory Committee, and the Maryland Christmas Tree Association, to name a few. Wade wants all who come to the farm to experience what he sees every day. The joy of seeing the harmony between soil, plants, insects, air, and water that creates a product with health benefits that only just picked food can provide. Wade can be found out on the farm at all hours of day and night, observing the plants and soil so he can better attend to their needs.
Susan ButlerFarm OwnerSusan is a second generation Butler and the Business and Farm Market Manager. She earned her Horticulture degree at the University of Maryland, and then worked a season for an apple grower in Washington State before returning to the family farm. Although Susan’s position requires her frequent presence in the office, she is never happier than while in the farm market serving customers, working with our teenaged employees, and sharing her passion for fresh, local fruits and vegetables. Susan’s community service over the years has included serving on the Montgomery County Agricultural Preservation Board, the Montgomery County Agricultural Advisory Board, and the board of the Montgomery County Farm Bureau, among others.
Hallie Butler-Van HornAssistant Market ManagerHallie is a third generation Butler. She worked off the farm for several years, gaining experience and knowledge in customer service, retail management, and human resources. Hallie manages the ordering of products for our farm market and supervises the hiring and training of our employees. Hallie spends most of her time in the market, where she enjoys sharing her passion for fresh fruits and vegetables, and her enthusiasm for farming, with our customers and staff. Farming is in her blood and she can often be found out in the fields planting and pruning. Hallie serves on the Board of the local community fair and is a member of both the Young Growers Alliance and the Montgomery County Young Farmers.
Tyler ButlerAssistant Farm ManagerTyler is a third generation Butler. He graduated from the University of Maryland with a degree in Horticulture and Crop Production and returned to the farm, where he is responsible for growing and managing various crops, as well as overseeing our festivals. His energy and enthusiasm for farming is boundless and he eagerly anticipates the family farm’s growth and continued role in the community. Tyler participates in the community by serving on both the Maryland State and the Montgomery County Young Farmer Boards.
Ben ButlerAssistant Farm Manager Ben is a member of the third generation of Butler’s. He returned to the family farm after graduating from the University of Maryland with a degree in Horticulture and Crop Production, and is now responsible for day to day farm operations and crop production. Ben feels a personal commitment to the community to provide high quality, sustainably grown produce for generations to come. His local community work includes serving on the Board of the Montgomery County Agricultural Center and involvement with the Montgomery County Agricultural Fair.
Karen SawyerAssistant Market ManagerKaren has been working at Butler’s since 2003 and her promotion to a management position was well deserved. Karen earned a B.S. in Community Nutrition from the University of Maryland, which she puts to good use here at Butler’s. While her primary focus is in our bakery area, she especially enjoys sharing her knowledge of canning, baking, and cooking with our customers, who flock to her impromptu lessons. In addition to her work at Butler’s, Karen teaches Nutrition Science classes to high school students.
Jillian LevineAssistant Market ManagerJillian started working at Butler’s part time in 2011 during breaks from college and immediately fell in love with the Orchard’s history and its emphasis on supporting the local community. After graduating from the University of Maryland with a degree in Psychology and Human Development, Jillian returned to Butler’s to work full time. As an assistant market manager, she is passionate about empowering our young employees and continuing their education on local agriculture while enriching our customers’ experiences. Outside of Butler’s, Jillian devotes her energy to her family’s farm and caring for their rescued farm animals.
Jonathan Frith Pick Your Own ManagerJonathan was born and raised in Laurel, MD and has been working at Butler’s Orchard on and off since 1986. After graduating from the University of Maryland, he lived from coast to coast, including Miami, LA, and the Rocky Mountains, before returning to the farm full time in 2008. As our Pick Your Own Manager, Jonathan coordinates all the daily picking activities at the farm. Whether it’s on a dirt bike, tractor, or on foot, you’ll find him out in the fields living his dream of never wearing a tie to work.
Andrew CullenAssistant Pick Your Own ManagerAndrew started working at Butler’s in 2000, returning to the farm every season during breaks from high school and college, working in our farm market, fields, group outings, and festivals. He graduated from Roanoke College with a degree in Psychology/Business, and is now working full-time applying this knowledge to customer service, marketing, and training. Andrew is creative and passionate, and particularly enjoys using his skills to continually improve our customers’ Pick Your Own and Festival experiences.
Angela ButlerOn Farm Group CoordinatorAngela has been involved in the farm’s agriculture education and tourism activities since her marriage to Wade in 1979. She has a degree in Horticulture from the University of Maryland and is active in the University’s 4-H and Master Gardener Extension Service programs. Angela finds the most joy in sharing the farm with children and their families. The many thank you pictures and letters she receives confirm that her passion and joyfulness are greatly appreciated.