Baxter and Carol have enjoyed the “fruits” of their labor for the past twenty years and the State of Texas now boasts orchards from the pan handle to the Hill Country. In 2000 Baxter and Carol donated a good portion of the original Love Creek ranch to the Nature Conservancy of Texas. Their environmental efforts and good stewardship of the land resulted in the recovery of native plants, some of which were endangered. The remaining portion of the ranch was sold and the orchards remain in production today. Baxter maintains the Medina Orchards where tours are given by appointment.
In 1980, Baxter and Carol Adams moved from Houston and purchased a 2,000 acre ranch on FM 337 in Bandera County and there planned on raising cattle. The Adams’s are naturalist and when they got settled on the ranch they began to explore the property and the beautiful Love Creek that ran through it. To their dismay, the ranch, like many Hill Country ranches, was over grazed. They decided more cattle on the ranch would not be good stewardship of the land.
Baxter immediately visited with Dr. Loy Shreve from Texas A&M to discuss options for resting the property but also to inquire as to other options he might have for more environmentally friendly opportunities. Dr. Shreve introduced Baxter to the idea of growing apples on dwarf root stock. Dr. Shreve had found these trees in Romania while on a visit. He determined the Romanian climate, terrain and soil conditions were similar to that of the Texas Hill Country and he had been experimenting with the dwarf apple trees in Hondo for some time. Baxter and Carol talked it over and decided to give it a try. They planted 100 dwarf trees at Love Creek and waited to see what their experiment would supply. Not only did the trees do well, they produced the sweetest apples they had ever tasted!
The Adams’s were thrilled with the possibility of becoming apple growers, but now they had 100 trees with sweet ripe apples and needed to do something with them so they called as many folks as they could that lived in Medina (population 200) and invited everyone out for a bar-b-que and to pick apples. Everyone had such a good time and they all loved the apples that it was suggested that the following year, when the apples were ready for harvest that Baxter and Carol bring them to town to sell. A local volunteer fireman suggested the fire department could sell hamburgers and the post master’s wife admitted she had a great recipe for apple ice cream and another local lady bragged about her apple pies – so a party was planned. Everyone thought if they invited at least one or two folks from nearby Bandera that maybe they could have as many as 400 people come but over 3,000 people showed up because the word quickly spread about the “wonderfully sweet apples grown in Texas”.
The Texas Department of Agriculture named Medina, the Apple Capital of Texas the following year when over 300,000 trees were planted within a 50 mile radius of Medina. Baxter and Carol became pioneers of a new Texas Apple Industry.