New Castle Rotary to Honor Apple Castle’s Johnstons

NEW CASTLE, Pa. – The New Castle Rotary will honor the Johnston Family of Apple Castle May 22 with its Rotary Entrepreneur of the Year.

The dinner will be held at The Villa.

The Rotary has bestowed the honor annually since 2005 when the late Deanna Wish, then president of Rotary, proposed the annual recognition.

Lyle Johnston grew up on his family farm in New Wilmington and is a 1970 graduate of Wilmington Area High School and earned a baccalaureate in business management in 1974 at Westminster College.  After working as a banker and car salesman, Lyle returned to the farm and joined his father, Ralph, in the family business, making Lyle the fifth generation of Johnstons to farm the Apple Castle land.

Steve Johnston is a 2004 graduate of Wilmington Area High School and received a baccalaureate with honors in agribusiness management in 2008 at Penn State University. He spent the next three years at Brown’s Orchards & Farm Market in Loganville (York County) learning the operations of a larger farm.

In 2011, he moved home to New Wilmington to become the sixth generation to live on and farm the family’s land.

Steve and his wife, Ashley, have been working to add more family activities to the farm. He is vice-president of the Lawrence County Tourist Promotion Agency.

The land surrounding Apple Castle LLC has been in the Johnston family since 1861. Josiah Smith Johnston first moved to the Johnston Road area of Wilmington Township in the early 1840’s. He purchased the property in 1861, including the original farmhouse in which Steve’s family now lives. Ralph Johnston opened the Apple Castle farm market in 1950.  Lyle came back to the farm in 1978, and the new farm market building opened in 1982.

The dinner honoring the Johnstons begins at 5:30 p.m. Cost is $35 per person and reservations are required. For tickets, contact Drew McDowell at 724 652 9592 or email, or Heather Armstrong at 724 510 1608 or email at

Pictured: Steve, Lyle and Ralph Johnston.

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