A Peach of a Day
One of the joys of living in New Athens is it’s out in a rural area. That means we are close to various farms and places to get fresh food. One of those places is Eckert’s Farm. They are in Belleville, but it’s surrounded by farmland. It’s about 11 miles from our home. An easy drive. Today we had the opportunity to go picking peaches. It’s actually the second time we have gone. Two of our grandsons are with us this weekend. When they heard we had gone before, they asked if we could do it again.
Before we continue with the peach picking, here’s a little bit about Eckert’s Farm in Belleville, Illinois, a quaint town nestled in the heart of the Midwest. Belleville has been home to Eckert’s Farm, a cherished agricultural landmark that has stood the test of time. With a rich history spanning generations, Eckert Farm has played a significant role in shaping the local community and fostering a connection between people and the land.
Roots of a Family Legacy:
Eckert’s Farm traces its roots back to 1837 when the first generation of the Eckert family settled in the fertile lands of Belleville. Through the years, the farm has remained under family ownership, passing down from one generation to the next. The Eckert family’s commitment to agricultural excellence has been a driving force behind the farm’s continued success.
From Humble Beginnings to Agrarian Success:
What began as a small family-run venture has since blossomed into a vast and thriving agricultural enterprise. Initially focusing on traditional crops, such as corn and wheat, the Eckert family diversified their offerings over time. Today, the farm boasts an extensive range of fresh produce, including apples, peaches, berries, and vegetables.
A Gathering Place for the Community:
Eckert’s Farm is not only a place of bountiful harvest but also a beloved gathering spot for the local community and visitors alike. With seasonal events and activities, such as pumpkin picking, hayrides, and corn mazes, the farm has become a cherished destination for families during various festivities.
Preserving Agricultural Heritage:
Over the years, Eckert’s Farm has faced the challenges of modernization and urbanization that have threatened many family-owned farms. Nevertheless, the Eckert family’s commitment to preserving their agricultural heritage has stood strong, enabling the farm to remain a symbol of resilience in the face of change.
Embracing Sustainable Practices:
As environmental consciousness has grown, so has Eckert’s Farm’s dedication to sustainable farming practices. By adopting eco-friendly techniques and investing in modern agricultural technology, the farm strives to minimize its ecological footprint while maintaining the quality of its produce.
Looking to the Future:
As the Eckert family continues to cultivate their legacy, they also look to the future with optimism and determination. With each passing season, the farm remains an enduring beacon of agriculture and community, a testament to the power of tradition and the enduring spirit of local businesses.
Eckert’s Farm in Belleville, IL, stands as a living testament to the rich history and agricultural heritage of the region. From its humble beginnings in the 19th century to its position as a beloved community landmark in the 21st century, the farm has weathered the winds of change and embraced the values of family, tradition, and sustainability.
As the seasons come and go, visitors and locals alike are drawn to the farm’s abundant offerings and the sense of connection it fosters with nature and the past. Whether it’s picking fresh apples in the fall or enjoying a hayride with loved ones, Eckert’s Farm remains a cherished destination that continues to sow the seeds of community and shared memories.
Our peach pickin time
With this rich history, we began our day of peach picking. After Mass and a quick stop at home to change clothes, Jase, AJ, Karen, and I drove to the farm. The weather was going to be warm, so we didn’t want to wait for the afternoon to heat up. We arrived just before noon and waited a few minutes for the tractor to take us to the picking area. It doesn’t take long to fill the bin with peaches.
The trick is to select the ripe peach. As the farm worker said, “Take peaches that have red and yellow and no green.” Many of the peaches still had some green and needed to stay on the tree. There were many people picking peaches. It was almost something of a festive time. People were playing music while they were picking peaches. We spread out in the area assigned and began our search.
As I said it doesn’t take long to pick 25 lbs. of peaches. I walked to the far end in hopes of finding peach others hadn’t gotten to. We were out in the field for about 30 minutes before coming back to the pickup and drop-off area. Karen wanted to get a peach pie in the country store.
We’ll be back
Eckert’s has a nice produce store and garden center. We probably will return as fall sets in to buy plants for fall planting. All in all, it was a great time picking peaches. The peach pick season is ending soon so if you have a chance to get to Eckert’s in Belleville, I would highly recommend it. Eckert’s also has farms in Grafton, IL; Millstadt, IL; and Versailles, KY. The apple picking season will be opening soon, so we’ll be back for apples and report on our apple picking. Oh, when we get home Karen’s going to make peach jam, yummmmm.
We hope you are enjoying these articles and are willing to continue to follow along as we move through the process of selling our house, buying a new house (to become our home), and the adventures of learning about life in southern Illinois, Bruce & Karen.