Becky and Bob Titchenal followed country roads—and their hearts—to the place they belong.
Becky and Bob Titchenal met in the early 1990s, after each had left their homes among the hills to pursue careers elsewhere, then returned to the state. They quickly bonded over their homesickness, fell in love, got married, and came to a very important agreement: “We both said, ‘We will never leave again,’” Becky says.
The couple started brainstorming, determined to find a purpose and redefine their lives. “I asked Bob, ‘What would you do if you followed your heart?’” Becky says. “He said, ‘I would like to have a farm and grow berries.’”
West Virginia Fruit and Berry launched in September 1995. The Titchenals first began growing berries in the Sun Valley area of Harrison County, then on a 168-acre farm in Brushy Fork, just outside Bridgeport. In the early 2000s, the couple opened five acres of the property to the public as a pick-your-own berry farm with a souvenir store, The Berry Patch Gift Shop, on-site.
The Titchenals then began work on a line of jams, jellies, and preserves for specialty food retail markets, tourist centers, and grocery stores. “Our dream was to become a company that would sell the memories of growing up in the state of West Virginia,” says Becky.
The company now carries 17 varieties of preserves, jams, and jellies, six flavors of fruit butters, and four fruit wine varieties. The Titchenals no longer grow berries on the property, and the farm is no longer open to the public, but they still have a facility in Brushy Fork, open by appointment for those who want to see for themselves how West Virginia Fruit and Berry got its start.
“We want to bring back memories to all those West Virginians not only here, but all over the country and beyond,” Becky says. “We are proud to share the pride and tradition of our state through products we all know and remember growing up in this great state.”
West Virginia Fruit and Berry products are available at stores and distributors across seven states, as well as on their website. 304.842.8945 wvfruitandberry.com
written by Kaylyn Christopher
photos courtesy of West Virginia Fruit and Berry