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Festival honors Apple Grower of the Year

Rick Moss accepts Apple Grower of the Year Award from United Community Bank executive Fair Waggoner. [PHOTO BY PAULA ROBERTS] Rick Moss accepts Apple Grower of the Year Award from United Community Bank executive Fair Waggoner. [PHOTO BY PAULA ROBERTS]

Rick Moss, a fifth generation apple farmer who has helped double the acreage and varieties of fruit grown on the family farm, was honored at  the North Carolina Apple Festival as the 2022 United Community Bank Apple Grower of the Year.

"This award was created to serve all of us as a reminder of the reason we are really here — the whole reason we have an Apple Festival, what we are celebrating and who is truly at the core of it all," said UCB executive Fair Waggoner.

An Edneyville native, Rick Moss joined his father, Keith, in the farming business in 1982. He purchased 42 additional acres and planted more than 6,000 apple trees.

“Doc Moss, our recipient’s great-grandfather, planted one of the first orchards in Henderson County, around 1903," Waggoner said. "Even as farmland becomes scarcer and scarcer and more expensive, sometimes making it a tough value proposition to add acreage, this farm has almost doubled its size, farming approximately 100 acres. They grow, harvest and pack over 15 varieties of fruit, and one of the nominators commented that Rick is not only a great apple farmer, he is a tremendous member of the community. He's grown up in the community and continues to support it. He's raised his family in it and they are now part of the community and his farm as well.”

The farm is truly family run. Donna Moss is office manager and food safety coordinator, Brittany Moss is a packinghouse assistant and also a food safety coordinator, Renae Moss Brooks serves in sales and marketing and as Apple Festival coordinator, and Brooke Moss is in sales and marketing.

Kasey and Mike Gilliam nominated Moss for the award.

"Rick grew up in the Edneyville community, participating in sports at Edneyville High School," Kasey wrote. "His children grew up in the area and many have stayed."