KT’s Orchard Cooler Project
Living in the Canton area of Western North Carolina is one of the most hospitable couples you will ever meet. Kathy and Howard Taylor, owners of KT’s Orchard and Apiary, have become a favorite stop among locals since their start in 2007. Located just off of Champion Drive, the Taylor’s run one of the most impressive family operated farming operations in the area. In 2007, the Taylor’s started their business with 200 hundred peach and apple trees of various variety and 2 hives of honey bees all on 1.4 acres of land. Little did they know that now, their orchard spreads across 11 acres of land and contains 1,500 apple, peach, nectarine, pear, and pluot (a mix between a plum and an apricot) trees and also several rows of blueberries and raspberries. The apiary has also grow by tremendous numbers. Kathy Taylor’s 2 hives has grown to nearly 30 hives which she operates on the orchard property and has hives located in Jackson and Buncombe counties as well. The couple sells all of their produce in their store that is located on the property as well as bee supplies and honey. The Taylor’s are also contracted to sell to the local school system and Earth Fare, located in Asheville, NC. In the summer of 2016, the Taylor’s business had grown tremendously, but they were struggling with having to hurry and sell their fruit crops before they started to spoil and become unsellable because of their short shelf life. Southwestern NC RC&D Council partnered with the owners and supplied the Taylor’s with a $6,000 grant to install a cooler inside their store to enable the couple to keep fruit longer before it became unsellable. The cooler was installed in what once served as a storage room. This project, from start to finish, has now lasted about a year and is now complete. “We couldn’t have done it without this grant!” said Howard Taylor when being interviewed about the project. “It has definitely been such a great help to us and we are excited to be able to use it this upcoming season.