Out on a Limb Orchard & Vineyard Growing Healthy Satisfaction

By Posted on Dec 05 2019 | By

“An apple a day keeps the doctor away” is a tasty way to stay healthy. As is eating grapes. The red and purple orbs are rich in important flavonoids and dietary fiber. The phytonutrients and antioxidants in the fruits may help reduce the risk of developing cancer, hypertension, diabetes, and heart disease.

Apples and grapes are beautiful to look at and satisfying to munch on, making them the perfect fruit. And they’re widely available. But the zenith of their enjoyment is having the pleasure of eating one fresh-picked from a local apple tree or vineyard without having to snag it yourself.

How so? Think of Out on a Limb Orchard & Vineyard and its produce at the Manassas Farmer’s Market and Tackett’s Mill Farmer’s Market in Lake Ridge. Guess who will be tending the fruit stand when you show up? Doctor Ross Moore. And while the good doctor no longer uses his professional title, his former wellness career now extends to agriculture.

“I was a veterinarian for 42 years with the Independent Hill Veterinary Clinic,” says Ross. “I’m retired now and tend to my orchard and vineyard year-round.” In 1980, the vet purchased a 13-acre farm on Spriggs Road in Manassas. In yesteryears, the area was known as a thriving apple region but today grows subdivisions and shopping centers.

The farm had just a few remaining apple trees, but over the years he has slowly brought the orchard back to life by dint of hard work and the love of the land. The vet-turned-farmer now has 300 apple trees showcasing 50 varietals and a small vineyard dedicated to seedless table grapes.

Ross’ labors typically begin in February as he sets about pruning his orchard and vineyard. It continues throughout the summer months as he seeks to keep trees and vines healthy. “You want to maintain a balance between the tree canopy, fruit production, and root structure,” explains Ross. “They all have to be in harmony. Good air circulation and sunlight are important too, so the fruit colors up.”

In the fall, he sprays the trees with nitrogen to build up nitrogen reserves, supporting leaf development and fruit growth for the following year. One of his unique farming techniques is to paint the base of each tree with white latex paint. The treatment protects the trunk from depredation from small animals and insects that enjoy munching on the tree bark. Who knew?

The three most popular apples he sells are Sekai ichi, Japanese for “world’s number one,” which is large, juicy, and sweet; Honeycrisp, prized for its sweetness, firmness, and tartness; and Limbertwig, an old North Carolina species that is a little acidic yet still sweet like an old apple variety should be. But any of Ross’ selections are sure to satisfy.

Ross chuckles when he says, “The farm is a hobby gone wild. My grandmother said I got my love of agriculture from my Portuguese background. My great-great-grandfather owned the largest produce farm in Bermuda.” Ah, the old DNA explanation.

From August through November on each Tuesday he sells at the Tackett’s Farmers Market from 2:30–6:30 p.m., and on Thursdays and Fridays from 8:00 a.m.–1:00 p.m. you will find him at his fruit stand at the Manassas Farmers Market.

For information on upcoming fruit availability, ask to be placed on his email newsletter list. Ross also delivers to nearby customers, or you can pick up the freshest of fruit by visiting his farm. Reach Farmer Ross at

Published in the November 2019 edition of Discover Prince William.

Categories : WINE ARTICLES