Linvilla Orchards: The Disneyland of Family Farms

Why do a million people trek to pick-your-own emporium Linvilla Orchards? Credit the bucolic setting, the delicious fruits—and one state-of-the-art Facebook strategy

THERE ARE, OF COURSE, Linvilla- patrons who are less than appreciative of the farm’s expansion. A few online reviews decry the orchard’s “mass commercialism” and “dirty, crowded carnival-” vibe. Debate over whether the bakery’s famous pies are actually homemade or Mrs. Smith’s—“My brother … saw them unloading the truck,” one commenter claims—has raged for years. (“We do have someone who makes the pies for us now,” Ferber says. “It’s not Mrs. Smith’s. And it’s not something I advertise.”) As one customer shrugged to me on the jostling ride back from the strawberry fields, “It’s pick-your-own, but it’s factory pick-your-own.”

But Linvilla has a plan on the books that may be the perfect way to please both those who like a little history along with their picking and those who love the modern, well-oiled Linvilla machine. The farm’s beloved centerpiece—its octagonal barn, which went on to become a gift shop—burned to the ground in a 2002 fire. Now, Linvilla is plotting to rebuild it. The plans include a giant indoor playground and party space, not to mention a coffee shop.

Linvilla frequenter Jenna Moon can’t wait to see it—she recalls her first visit after the barn fire as “heartbreaking. I just couldn’t believe it was gone. But then I realized, the orchards are still there. The animals are still there. The people are still there.”

So she kept going, too. Moon says she was thrilled to talk for this story, that she told Ferber “I’d put in a good word any way I can.” I mention to her that Ferber, when he recommended I speak with her, seemed grateful for her loyal patronage. He knew all of her family’s favorite things to do at the farm: visiting the playground, picking, fishing. How long had she known him?

“I don’t know that I’ve ever met him in person,” Moon replies. “But whenever I send him an e-mail, he sends one right back.”

1 2 3 4 5 < PreviousView as One Page
  • Hope

    Linvilla Orchards may be “Disneyland” for families but it is a “house of horrors” for animals. Last summer my husband and I went to Linvilla to spend what we thought was a nice day in the “country”. Our day was ruined when we saw how poorly Linvilla treats their animals.
    We saw several rabbits that were really suffering in the heat in their small, dirty hutches with hot, filthy water and no food. The other animals were also struggling with the heat. I still can’t get the picture out of my mind of the poor chickens digging trenches in their filthy pens (in full sun) trying to burrow into the dirt in a futile effort to cool down. After seeing how the animals were kept in deplorable conditions, we complained to Linvilla management and vowed never to return. The place is disgusting.

  • Hope

    Linvilla Orchards may be “Disneyland” for families but it is a “house of horrors” for animals. Last summer my husband and I went to Linvilla to spend what we thought was a nice day in the “country”. Our day was ruined when we saw how poorly Linvilla treats their animals.
    We saw several rabbits that were really suffering in the heat in their small, dirty hutches with hot, filthy water and no food. The other animals were also struggling with the heat. I still can’t get the picture out of my mind of the poor chickens digging trenches in their filthy pens (in full sun) trying to burrow into the dirt in a futile effort to cool down. After seeing how the animals were kept in deplorable conditions, we complained to Linvilla management and vowed never to return. The place is disgusting.