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.

 

The Knouse Family

 

 Left to Right - Milton Knouse, Janet Knouse, Tonya Knouse White, Brian Knouse, Kyle Knouse, and Kevin Knouse

 

 



Janet T. Knouse

President 

Janet T. Knouse, mother of Tonya, Milton, and Brian, and grandmother of Kyle and Kevin, is "a woman loaded with experience" through her many (!) years immersed in  the fruit growing industry. She received "Grower of the Year" award from the State Horticultural Associationn of Pennsylvania and "Master Farmer" award from the Pennsyvania Farmer Magazine. She has, in the past, sat on a number of Boards of Directors, notably, serving as the first woman president of the State Horticultural Association of Pennsylvania, as well as, related industry advisory committees. She retired from fulltime work in 2007 (you can still catch her around) , but remains President of the family business.

 

 



Tonya Knouse White

General Manager

Tonya Knouse White graduated in 1970 from Penn State with a bachelors degree in Recreation Therapy; 1971 from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, with a masters degree in Recreation Administration; 1977 from the Medical University of South Carolina in the Physician Assistant program. She worked for 12 years at the Charleston Area Mental Health Center, Charleston, South Carolina, as a recreational therapist and then a physician assistant.   Returning to Adams County and the family business, she currently serves as the General Manager. She now has 30 years of experience in the industry.

 



Milton Knouse

Production Manager

Milton Knouse graduated from Juniata College with a degree in horticulture and biology. He began working for Knouse Fruitlands INC, straight out of college. He now has over 30 years of experience in the industry.

 

 



Brian Knouse

Production Manager

Brian Knouse graduated from Juniata College with a degree in business administration. He began working for Knouse Fruitlands INC, straight out of college. He now has over 30 years of experience in the industry.

 



Kyle Knouse

Kyle Knouse graduated in 2003 from Delaware Valley College with a degree in horticulture. Upon graduation he began working for Knouse Fruitlands INC.

 
Kevin Knouse

Kevin Knouse graduated in 2006 from Millersville University with a degree in business administration. Upon graduation he began working for Knouse Fruitlands INC.

 

© Knouse Fruitlands Incorporated 2013

Historic Round Barn & Farm Market

About the Company