Open for Business: Farm turned sprawling nature getaway geared toward expansion

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HOPEDALE, Ill. (WMBD) – For Rob Preston, Tippy Creek in the Hopedale-Minier area has become so much more than he could have expected.

“Originally it was just supposed to be a place where the family could come and kick back,” he said.

But now Preston, his wife and sister work hand in hand to run their small hobby farm, turned orchard, turned nature getaway. 

“So now I’m up to 550-ish trees,” said Preston

The 26 acres at Tippy Creek now feature hundreds of apple trees, beehives and tillable land. But having grown up on a farm, the toil of the land is nothing new for him.

“I wanted apple trees because when I was younger we had an orchard. And we would—you know the whole family would come and make cider and I thought, ‘That would be really neat.’”

rob preston

“My mom had horse stables. My dad was an electrical engineer, so he was always on the road. So it was a lot of work and you grow up with an ethic of work,” said Preston. “It’s just the idea of all the work that needs to be done.”

But with a team of three people at Tippy Creek, Preston had to think efficiently by putting pollinator bees to work. 

“How do you take 26 acres and make it self-sufficient? You really can’t if you’re just a farmer, so I had to extrapolate from that; so apples in the fall, bees make honey. I can sell the honey and do better than just a standard farm would do,” he said.

The ultimate goal for the owners is to create walking trails, picnic areas, host tours and add on to an already growing event center for educational seminars. As a retired teacher, Preston said he’s always looking to help others learn. 

“If you have a vision everybody has a dream everybody has a vision but if they’re not willing to take the steps to work towards that vision, it’s never going to come to fruition,” he said.

For more information, visit Tippy Creek’s website.

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