A.B. Phillips and Sons Fruit Farm, located in the middle of Berlin Heights, is a small family farm operated by Brad Phillips with assistance from his wife Linda.
Our family has been in Berlin Township since 1818. The old homestead in which we live was built in 1844 for my great-great grandparents Zalmuna and Eunice Phillips and has remained in family hands ever since. Our first record of fruit on the farm is from 1863, when my great grandfather Henry Clay Phillips took pears and grapes to the Ohio State Fair for exhibition.
Quoting Brad -“I have been working on the farm since age six, when I remember picking my first basket of tart cherries for 20 cents. There was only one summer, in 1977, when my brother and I had to find jobs off-farm, due to the damage caused by the ‘winter of 1977’. After college I came back and started co-managing operations. I am still here!
We grow mostly a wide variety of apples, but also fresh peaches, cherries, pears, table grapes, and a few plums and red raspberries. Our business is seasonal, with fruit harvested from mid June thru late October. Storage apples extend sales into the winter.
We are not an organic operation, but follow the principles of Integrated Pest Management. In practice this means we monitor pest populations by scouting and trapping and time sprays to best target damaging pests. When possible, we use materials which are targeted to the pest and ‘softer’ on beneficial insects.
I am currently most excited about new apple varieties being developed by the Midwest Apple Improvement Association. Currently I have about 110 unnamed test varieties growing on the farm to evaluate. They are part of a multi-state grower operated co-operative effort to produce apples which are superior in quality to current varieties. Stay tuned for progress updates!”