In the summer of 1939 Charles Bowman, a Mt. Jackson Orchard Owner, and his two sons Gordon and Courtland traveled to New York State to purchase the bankrupt Gilbert Apple Products plant just north of Mt. Jackson Virginia. This 80,000 square foot, two story facility processed fresh apples for sale and also canned applesauce. It was secured for approximately $3,000 and Bowman Apple Products was born.
Over time this business would grow to become a major grower and producer of apple related products in the state of Virginia. The company expanded its products to include not only apple sauce but also canned apples, apple butter, juices, and other beverages. Many of the products are packaged for private labels including Wal-Mart, Safeway, Gatorade, Arizona Tea, and Dr. Pepper. Bowman also owned and packaged the Old Virginia Brand of apple products.
The company was managed by the Bowman family from the time of its founding until its sale to Andros Foods in 2011. Gordon Bowman and his wife Martha were instrumental in ensuring the company survived and thrived during its early years. They were joined by their son Gordon Bowman II in the 1960s and he managed the company as president until the sale.
Their Mt. Jackson Plant expanded to over 26,000 square feet of production space, 53,00 feet or warehouse storage, 80,000 square feet of cold storage, and 6,000 square feet of office space. It produced approximately 12.7 million pounds worth of apple-based products in 2017 and employed several hundred persons.