In 2007, Mike and Julie Morgan purchased Hampton’s Hilltop Orchard from Julie’s parents, Don and Carol Hampton. Four years earlier, the Hamptons had begun growing apples as a retirement hobby. Even now, Carol continues to cook for the family and Don offers apple-tending advice.
The farm on a hill west of Higbee, Missouri, is populated with about 300 Jonathan, Gala, UltraGold, Zestar, Fuji, and Suncrisp semi-dwarf apple trees. The Morgans also tend a small apiary with four honeybee hives, and they sell honey on the farm. Recently, the Morgan family has added blackberries to their fruit production.
For the past 9 years, the Morgans have sold most of their apples at the Columbia Farmers Market. When apples are particularly abundant, they also invite people to come out to the farm to pick their own fruit.
During apple season, from Labor Day until the end of October, the Morgan’s tent is a particularly busy area at the Columbia Farmers Market. “We like introducing customers to new apple varieties they have never tried, and to the superior flavor of a tree ripe, local apple that cannot be found in a grocery store,” Mike said, and they make sure their customers “get a fair price for our product.”