Apr 7, 2007Well-Rounded Market Draws Tourists
History has been vital to the success of the Round Barn Farm Market.
First, there’s location. The market is about 8 miles west of Gettysburg, Pa., site of the famous Civil War battle. Second, there’s the barn itself – one of Adams County’s famous landmarks, according to Tonya Knouse White, general manager of Knouse Fruitlands, the family company that runs the market and surrounding farms.
The Round Barn was built in 1914 by the Noah Sheely family. Like the few other round barns that are left, it is registered with the National Trust for Historic Preservation.
The Knouse family has its own farming history, one that doesn’t go back as far as its famous barn but eventually merges with it. M.E. Knouse, who owned fruit orchards, started the family business in the 1940s. His granddaughter, Tonya, her mother, Janet, and her brothers, Milton and Brian, now run the operation.
The Knouse family purchased the Round Barn in 1985. The barn had been closed for years and needed refurbishing, but the new owners knew it would be a good investment in the long run.
“It’s a special building,” Tonya said. “We wanted to get into retail, and it seemed like the perfect location.”
When they first opened a farm market inside the barn, they sold apples and cider. Since then, their offerings have expanded.
“When we first opened the doors, we wondered how we would fill all the shelves,” Tonya said. “Now, we wonder where to put all this stuff.”
The barn’s circumference is 282 feet, with a diameter of more than 87 feet. It was constructed around a 60-foot high, 12-foot wide silo. The barn as originally constructed could house 50 head of cattle and about 16 horses or mules, according to a brochure.
The Knouse family has farms in three counties. The Round Barn Farm Market – the family’s only retail market – is centrally located within its sprawling operation. The market has a “fairly decent” local following, but the area’s historical attractions draw plenty of tourists, who buy a lot of produce, Tonya said.
The family’s main focus is growing and selling apples, both wholesale and fresh. Every fall, the farm market offers as many as 35 varieties of apples, along with peaches and heirloom tomatoes. The market sells local produce when it’s available, she said.
The market also has a gift shop, which sells souvenirs, a full line of jams, jellies and preserves, salad dressings, baking mixes, soups, snacks, candy, tea, coffee, trail mix, exotic baskets and seasonal decorations like gourds, pumpkins and squashes, she said.
For more information, visit www.roundbarngettysburg.com.