Hoyt Dalton Adair
In 1967, with a business degree from Auburn and a tour of duty in the Air Force completed, Hoyt Adair began a 33 year career in agriculture in Moulton, Alabama. Adair’s early operations included row crops and livestock. In the late 1980s when profitability declined in pork production, Adair made the transition to fruit production.
Adair’s keen interest in and curiosity about the field led to the development of a 150-acre farm. Always on the alert for varieties that could be adapted to the Southern states, Adair became interested in exotics and antique varieties that were not traditional to Alabama. At the time of his death in 2001, the Adair farm had approximately 400 varieties of apples, peaches, nectarines, berries and hazelnut pecan trees, many of which provided nursery stock through mail-order operations to orchards around the country and worldwide.
It has been said that Hoyt Adair had a dream and did something about it. He saw the need to change with the times and knew when it was time to change. The Adairs opened their farm to visits from farmers, tourists, school children and individuals. As the operation grew, a natural outgrowth became the fruit stand they opened to facilitate public sales. The success of the fruit stand led to a greatly expanded facility that included a retail nursery for indoor and landscape plants. This facility also provided an opportunity for Adair to parlay his enjoyment of grilling into a barbecue restaurant, thus was born “Classic Fruits & Barbecue” in November 1994.
Again, not one to be satisfied with the status quo, the Adair orchard became the site of a strawberry festival held each spring and an apple festival held in the fall. The Antique and Apple Festival has grown to a three-day celebration that attracts an estimated 30,000 people from around the southeast. More than 200 vendors selling antiques, homemade crafts, antique toys, candies and, of course, locally grown apples enjoy the fruits of Adair’s interest and enthusiasm.
Hoyt Adair’s legacy continues through the thriving farm and business but also through an endowment in the AU Department of Horticulture established in his memory to assist with recruiting outstanding graduate students to study fruits and vegetables that will further benefit the state and its farmers.
Adair is survived by his wife, Ann Frances, three children, Jason (Heather), Martin, and Natalie-Ann, and two granddaughters, Mary-Frances and Genney.