The Knouse Family holds a rich heritage in the Apple Industry
as they've been a part of it for over 80 years.
M.E. Knouse, or M.E. as he was known to friends and associates, entered the apple industry in 1926, by taking over management of a struggling food processing plant in Peach Glen,.later to be known as the Knouse processing Plant at Peach Glen. That plant processed apples and some vegetables grown by other nearby farmers. In 1936 M.E. purchased an applesauce processing factory in Chambersburg, Pennsylvania. Soon after that, the National Fruit Company bought into the Knouse Corporation and for 17 years the association continued. In 1930 M.E. bought his first farm, a cattle and hog farm which he sold in 1941. However, in the late 30's or 1940 M.E.bought a group of 10 farms (M.E. never did anything in a small way) from the American Fruitgrower Corporation. Then in 1948, National Fruit wanted to liquidate its northern operations (Peach Glen) which opened the door for 260 fruit growers from Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia and West Virgina to establish a grower owned co-op, purchasing the processing plant and opening for business in March 10,1949 under the name of PenMar Va Packers Corporation. The Corporation in need of a leader, called upon M.E. Knouse to take the leadership role. On April 15,1949 he became the first CEO and President of what is now known as Knouse Foods Cooperative, Inc., the largest grower-owned apple processors in the United States
M.E. Knouse, as President of a grower-owned cooperative, and, as required by the Co-op By-laws, was required to own a fruit farm, which he already did! By 1957 he had accumulated around 2,300 acres of farm land, however, that year he decided to sell most of the farms.. Then in 1958 he purchased 600 acres in Adams County, and in 1960 he purchased an additional 800 acres in Franklin County. These farms were purchased under the business name M.E. Knouse Orchards for which M.E. hired a manager to run the orchards.. M.E. retired in 1966 from Knouse Foods. Not wanting to leave the fruit growing part of the industry, he immersed himself in the management of his farms. He died in on November 5,1973 "with his boots on". In 1973 the M.E. Knouse Orchards became what it is now Knouse Fruitlands Incorporated.
Today, Knouse Fruitlands Inc., is comprised of two parts, fruit and vegetable growing, and the Historic Round Barn & Farm Market. Right now the company operates 8 different farms, totaling 1,200 + acres, located in Adams, Cumberland and Franklin Counties in Pennsylvania. On these farms, Knouse Fruitlands Inc. grows Apples, Peaches, Pears, Plums, Nectarines, Apricots, Pluots (Plum and Apricot mix), Cherries, Corn, Pumpkins, Gourds, and many different Vegetables.
The business has been in continuous operation starting with M.E. Knouse and has never been owned by anyone outside of the Knouse Family. Today, the business is owned by Tonya Knouse White (General Manager), Milton E.Knouse II (Production Manager), and Brian R.Knouse (Production Manager). Tonya, Milton, and Brian are third generation owners with the fourth generation, Kyle Knouse and Kevin Knouse, waiting in the wings.