Professor Barkslip



fruit tree care class










Three year old asian pear grafts top worked on a Bradford Pear. Note Flowers on asian pear wood and green leaves on bradford rootstock. In its 3rd year there was more pears than the Vance elementary garden could handle.












Bosc Pears in a hornets nest. Pests were warded off and the pears were spotless at harvest.








10th (nearly) Annual Barkslip's Fruit school

March 5th & 6th, 2016

Blacksburg, Va

Hosted by Glade Road Growing Farm

Two days of learning how to work with fruit and nut trees in a way that works with nature

Barkslip’s University of Diversity

“Making a World of Difference”

Mission statement for fruit school is to impart a sense of cooperative partnership with these fruiting and nutting plants. If we understand and care for the environment around our trees they will in turn care for us.

(The dynamic of learning has really changed in a short period of time with the advent of easy access to information. Really any information can be had with a push of a button. One needs to ask what can a real live teacher do that a computer cant? ...there is no ap that accesses wisdom that comes from practical experience. Hands on labs and interactive onsite experience are still irreplaceable. The focus of fruit school will be less on lecture and information and more on broader concepts and experience that can be taken and applied by you to your specific site and unique needs.)

For class info go to: "Schedule" in the menu


Internship opportunities? knock here

We are accepting inquiries to apprentice at our farm in three six week internships over the summer from May through October.

Talking Hill Farm in Union, West Virginia


From last year's FS
What genius came up with the idea to spray deadly chemicals on our food anyway?  An “agri”-culture that is healthy for the environment is ours for the sharing. Find out how to cultivate fruit and nut trees without poisons, and in return receive abundance, good health, beauty, and happiness, in a way that makes triple-bottom-line sense. Let’s begin to implement agriculture as an art of nurturing our environment and enhancing ecological diversity for generations to come. 

Put plainly, be prepared for postulations about pomological possibilities, purpose, production, preferences, proliferation, propagation, politics, position and planting preparation, in public places, protection, pests, pruning, picking, peddling, and processing all  put into practice!

Just imagine…growing fruit without chemicals to diversify your livlihood......propagating your own plant material for little or no expense?...transforming fully grown established, barren, ornamental trees into fruit producing mega giants with 40 different varieties in 3 years? Fast track breeding of your own fruit and nuts that are adapted to your needs and location? "Ridiculous.... absurd... How is this possible?!!!"

If this seems to good to be true, perhaps it's time we expanded our definition of "true".

-Professor BS


Who is this guy Professor Barkslip?

(AkA) Bill Whipple began his fruit career at the age of 18 as an apple picker in Washington state, and lead a picker's strike in a 500 acre orchard that provided better conditions for the workers, and has been wreaking havoc on convention ever since. He picked five subsequent seasons in various conventional and organic commercial orchards in Washington State and West Virginia, finally homesteading in West Virginia where he planted 2 acres of pears in 1987. He has raised these trees organically and markets the pears regionally. He has added over 1000 trees of mixed species to his farm in the last 10 years and has begun a fruit and nut breeding program.

Since 2004, as a community volunteer Through the Buncombe Fruit and Nut Club, he has initiated and organized stewardship of the five edible parks in Asheville, with an emphasis on community building and outreach to schools. Most recently he has partnered with, and is mentoring, four other aspiring young orchardists to create the Nutty Buddy Collective which is planting extensive fruit and nut orchards around Asheville on long term leases. He presently manages his pear orchard and genome demonstration orchard on his farm in West Virginia. He earned a one year degree in agriculture at Sterling College in 1983 is the inventor and maker of the travel violin, Wiplstix.

"Fruit is the only food that wants to be eaten"

- Tom Robbins