Elmwood orchard carries on decades-long fall favorite traditions

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ELMWOOD, Ill. (WMBD) — An Elmwood orchard is continuing to bring a decades-long fall favorite tradition to the community.

“Forty-three years later it’s this today and we’ve just tried to have something for the community,” said Kurt Christ, the owner of Christ Orchard Farm.

But it’s the history behind the farm that may have some people surprised. 

“There was a coal mine and there was a man from out east who runs a coal mine and he wanted—when he got done taking the coal out, he said he wanted to give something back to the land. So he decided he liked fruit trees so he planted four acres of apple trees,” said Christ.

Christ said the former owner ultimately enlisted the help of a local youth group to tend to the trees that were planted. Christ was a part of the group.

He said, “We lived right here and we started taking care of them and pretty soon the coal company moved on.”

The move gave way for the Christ family to buy the land in 1977. Now at Christ Orchard Farms, you’ll find apples, pumpkins and other seasonal favorites to enjoy. Christ says the fall festivities have only been made possible with the help his family, friends and neighbors.

“We have a lot of friends and a lot of neighbors that we meet every day. Some come on a daily basis. Some come on a weekly basis. Some come on an annual basis.”

kurt christ

While the coronavirus pandemic and the following stay-at-home orders created some confusion and concern for Christ, he said his family was able to adjust before their season opening in August. 

“I really feel for those—especially the small business owners that don’t have quite as much resources whether it’s monetary or physical resources—when that happened they wasn’t able to adjust real quick. And we had time,” he said.

Christ is not looking to go large scale with the business. He wants to keep the small family feel while continuing to build community.

And he’s grateful for all the support. 

Christ said, “[Without] The help of God and family there’s no way we could do it.”

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