I highly recommend purchasing your fruit trees from Urban Homestead/www.oldvaapples.com.
We moved into a new home in Aldie, VA. I really wanted to plant four fruit trees, and I wanted to get the trees from a local nursery. As I began researching apples, I became intrigued with the thought of planting older apples for the following reasons: 1.) novelty of planting an old variety few have heard of, and even fewer have tried; and 2.) thinking that one of these older varieties may have more disease and bug resistance than the mass-produced varieties found in grocery stores (apple varieties being genetically identical).
I contacted three nurseries in VA that sold older "vintage" apples. One of these nurseries, was Urban Homestead, which has the URL, http://www.oldvaapples.com. Urban Homestead's website seemed to be a bit out-of-date on some of its info, e.g., regarding stock and sale prices. I was hesitant, therefore, to contact them initially, thinking that if the website had old and not updated info then maybe the nursery was not being kept up either. (I think the not-so-updated website was more of a lack of time, and lack of someone on staff with the skills and interest to keep the website updated. That can be tedious work, especially if that is not one's primary job!)
But I did contact Urban Homestead in February of 2014, and I am very glad I did. I called, and spoke, in length, with Tim Hensley, the owner. I had done a bit of research, so I spoke with Tim a good 15-20 minutes about varieties and root stocks. He provided some suggestions, from which I narrowed it down to two varieties. Over the next month, as I researched more to appease my obsession of details, I sent close to twenty emails to Tim, asking questions to clarify things for me, such as which cherry and peach trees I should get, which trees were good for my climate zone, which varieties were good keepers, pollination issues, how to plant, how to prune, white latex paint on the trunk, tree placement in regards to sun, etc. Just as he was with my initial call, he patiently and quickly answered all of my questions. I ended up getting a Grimes Golden and a Red Royal Limbertwig apple sapling, as well as one sapling each of a BlackGold cherry and a Bounty peach, from Tim. The trees arrived on time, were well-packed, and looked great.
I chose Urban Homestead partly because of the incredible variety of vintage apples Tim carries, but primarily because of Tim's obvious love of the apples, which comes through when speaking with him, when reading the detailed apple descriptions (with images of old prints) on oldvaapples.com, and when watching his YouTube videos. As a first-time fruit tree planter, I had a lot of questions, resulting from likely over-analyzing most things (as I tend to do), but Tim always took time from his busy schedule to patiently answer my questions. I felt comfortable purchasing trees from him because of the great customer service.
My trees are planted, but I'm sure I'll have a few questions about my trees in the future. If I cannot find an adequate answer online--which I rarely do because much of it is conflicting--I'm sure I'll be able to send Tim an email, or give him a call, and he'll give me the answer.
I had read the article in Smithsonian about the Reasor Green, and called Tim because I was looking for some antique varieties. He spent 10 or 15 minutes with me on the phone, and shipped me a catalog with some selections highlighted.
I ordered five plants on dwarf rootstock, and very soon after I got the shipment, The plants were well packed and in good condition. One of the varieties I had ordered was out of stock, so he deducted the cost of that one PLUS threw in two other cultivars he thought I'd like!
Maybe two seasons later I called to tell him about how pleased I was with the plants, and mentioned in passing that one was growing awfully fast. He asked a few questions and concluded that that one must have been grafted onto a standard rootstock, and he offered to send me another one on dwarf in replacement! What a guy. There should be a way to give double-positive for people like Tim.
we have been trusting tim to take care of our heritage apple (and other plants, such as blueberries) needs for many years now and his operation, knowledge, advice, and customer service are absolutely outstanding. we cannot sing his praises highly enough. if i couldn't get a certain variety from tim, i would forgo that one and get one he carries - - we drive almost two hours out of our way just to visit, collect new varieties, and seek his opinions.
clusiana Forest City, NC (Zone 7a) (2 reviews) December 28, 2010
I had used this company in about 2003 or before to plant trees in Amherst, VA. All survived and were doing great when I moved. I ordered and planted about 15 trees several years ago at our new home in Forest City, NC. Actually, we planted them just in time for a major drought in a place not accessible from our water supplies. I have to tell you that 10 of those trees are still alive! The ONLY thing going for these trees is that they had a good start.
BBrandon77 Knoxville, TN (Zone 7a) (14 reviews) December 12, 2009
Even before I placed an order, Tim was happy to discuss different varieties with me and answer my questions. I placed an order for apple trees. My trees arrived promptly and were packed very well. After a season in the ground (after the normal warranty), I noticed what I think may have been crown rot on one of the trees. I believe the problem was likely present before I got the tree. I contacted Tim and was told that a replacement was not immediately available and was offered my choice of a number of substitutes. I really wanted the variety I ordered and didn't place an order for a replacement. The following year (a few days ago), Tim contacted me! He told me that the variety I originally ordered was now available. I got my tree yesterday and planted it this morning.
It impressed me that this company follows through so well. Customer service has been very good, and I would recommend this company for for your next order!
I ordered 45 apple trees, and picked them up at Urban Homestead. Tim Hensley spent several hours in the evening with me, educating me on various aspects of fruit tree care, and proudly gave me a tour of his nursery. He was very patient with me and I never felt 'rushed', even though several of his young children were anxious to spend time with their father. All of the trees that I purchased from him, [did I mention that I also walked away with several pear and sweet cherry varieties?], are growing vigorously, and appear to be quite healthy. I am very satisfied with my purchases, and will gladly 'do business' with him again.
I purchased three 2-yr antique apple trees from them in November 2002. They arrived at my house a week and a half later, just as promised. They were in terrific condition. I will definately do business with this company again. RB--Arlington, VAOn December 25th, 2002, krbaylor added the following:
They do not have a web site, but have an excellent catalog well worth the three dollars. The company specializes in old Southern apple trees, with about 100 varieties available. The owner wrote an fascinating article about his nursery experiences with his antique apple hunt in the November 2002 Smithsonian magazine.