Family-Owned & Operated Since '67
Sky Top started as a curiosity that grew into a business experiment and quickly became a family affair. Today, we (David and Lindsey Butler) run Sky Top as a full-time business. As any farmer can tell you, we are working up here even in the months when the "open" sign is taking a vacation.
Back in the late 1960s David's father, Everette Butler, purchased a home in Flat Rock. He'd fallen in love with this area when he began bringing David and his siblings to summer camp each year. When his father purchased this land, it only had a few apple trees on it. Though he hadn't intended to operate an orchard, it wasn't long before Everette began exploring the idea of farming apples. After much research and help from an extension agent, by 1968 Mt. McAlpine's 70 to 80 acres were soon full of apple trees. Sky Top started as a commercial apple farm that sold exclusively to area supermarkets.
In college, David was soon summoned to help out with the new family venture and eventually transferred to USC in Columbia to be closer to the farm. David met Lindsey in college and soon she was in the apple business too.
Though they opened originally as a commercial wholesale orchard, they decided it didn't feel right to pick apples prior to ripeness just so they'd travel better to the market so they converted the orchard to u-pick. Now apple varieties are available for picking as soon as their sugar content allows!
To make a visit to the orchard more fun for guests, they added picnic tables and shelters so families could spend time with each other enjoying autumn breezes and the fruits of the season. Later, they added an apple house and pumpkin house for kids to explore and when everyone wanted more, they added hay rides, bee trains, and an apple cannon. And who knew that apple cider doughnuts would be such a hit?
Sky Top Today
We've come a long way since those early days. Our children are grown and on their own and many of our employees have been with us long enough to have their own families. Every year, you'll find us in the fruit stand or orchard, just as it has been since we opened to the public all those years ago.
We strive to make each person's visit memorable. Every year, we add new attractions or improvements for your enjoyment.
We haven't lost our enthusiasm for the farm and enjoy passing along our knowledge and appreciation for nature and agriculture to others. We love inviting school-aged children and school groups to learn how apples grow.
There is nothing quite like fall on the mountain with all the scents of the season and sounds of the farm. Take time to enjoy it. We do. Thank you for making us part of your family memories for generations.
We truly appreciate it and you.
David and Lindsey Butler
Recently, a local blogger interviewed David and Lindsey about the Orchard. Please visit Flat Rock Together to read this interview and be sure to explore their website to learn more about the people and stories behind Flat Rock.