Meet the Farmers

Mike Stepp has a passion for growing quality apples that he learned from his parents, the late J.H. Stepp Jr. and Yvonne Stepp, who grew apples for over 7 decades in Henderson County and who were leaders in the North Carolina apple industry.

Mike, his wife Rita, who is co-farm coordinator along with their daughter Danielle Stepp McCall, and her family now continue the tradition that Mike’s parents started in 1964. The family takes great pride in the orchard and sharing it with families who visit.

Mike was chosen Apple Farmer of the Year by the 2019 NC Apple Festival and Blue Ridge Apple Grower of the Year in 2020. He graduated from the Ag Institute at N.C. State University in 1971 and serves on the Henderson County Farm Bureau Board of Directors. He is a member of the Blue Ridge Apple Growers Association and the North Carolina Apple Growers Association.

He and Rita are former board members of the Blue Ridge Farm Direct Market Association. Rita is a retired teacher and graduate of UNC-Asheville.

Rex McCall, husband of Danielle, is a 1992 graduate of the Ag Institute at N.C. State University. He is president of the Blue Ridge Apple Growers Association and a member of the North Carolina Apple Growers Association and the Henderson County Extension Advisory Board.

Danielle, who coordinates farm activities along with her mother, Rita, is a district director with the NC Agritourism Networking Association and a board member of the Henderson County Tourism Development Authority. She is a graduate of UNC-Asheville.

Rex and Danielle have three children, Callie, Maggie, and Gus who are growing up working on the farm. Callie was chosen North Carolina Apple Ambassador for the 2021 NC Apple Festival.