Good Fruit Grower

September 1

Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 37 of 39

LAST BITE More Young Growers at Andy Smith grower / Poplar Grove, Illinois age / 29 crops / Apples, diversifi ed farm business / Manager of Edwards Apple Orchard family background / Third-generation farmer of a 52-acre farm with market and u-pick operation. The market operates for three months starting at the end of August. Nephew of Edwards Orchard owner Ken Hall. " " " " How did you get your start? By the time I was 8 years old I started selling caramel apples at the farm market and progressed through several of the farm jobs. When I went through high school, I wanted to do just about anything other than working at an orchard. I pursued my college degree in education, then I realized how much I missed the farm. The sights, smells, and working with your hands outside—all those things along with growing fruit that makes so many people happy. How do you operate a farm-to-table market? We grow 17 different apple varieties. For us, that diversity helps us get through the season because we pick everything for fresh market, not cold storage. The fruit is only available when it's in peak production. As soon as one variety is coming out of season, we pick it and put it right into our cider operation, then move our guests to the next variety. What are challenges unique to operating the farm market? The workload during the season defi nitely comes in waves. Once the market opens we start off really fast and our mindset is focused on getting through that busy beginning. At that time, the family's working extremely long hours, sometimes 17 hours each day, six to seven days a week. As a family business, it's just as important that we get along with each other as it is to have a positive relationship with our customers during stressful times. Why does operating a farm market make sense in your region? Chicago is two hours away from us in one direction and Milwaukee and Madison about an hour and a half away from us. These communities are accustomed to staying in the city, not getting out in the country much, so when they do, they go to destinations. Most of our customers come out for the day, they pick apples, they get a sense of an agri- cultural area and see where their fruit comes from. " Our thought is about providing the best taste to our customer... (because) it will sell itself. PLAY scan to watch the interview by TJ Mullinax More from this interview and other Young Growers at SPONSORED BY 38 SEPTEMBER 2015 GOOD FRUIT GROWER

Articles in this issue

Links on this page

Archives of this issue

view archives of Good Fruit Grower - September 1