> Eckert's Farms

Helped To Create Hybrid Crops Like The Sought After EverCrisp Apple

What started as a humble roadside fruit stand more than 175 years ago is now one of the top pick-yourown orchards in the country, and one of the most beloved and iconic family attractions in the Midwest.

Decade after decade of hard work, creativity, and a willingness to take risks has paid off. First, it was wholesale. Then, retail. Then, agri-tourism or agritainment—the addition of pick-your-own experiences. More wholesale. More farms. And, more produce—the Eckert family has helped to create hybrid crops like the sought-after “EverCrisp” apple which is quickly becoming a nationwide favorite. While innovative in their approach to farming and business, the Eckert family contributes their success to one vital attribute: an unflinching commitment to family.

As business saw its ups and downs and trends came and went, the Eckerts continued to put people at the center, offering an accessible place for creating special memories while providing an invaluable lesson: knowledge and gratitude for where food comes from. Now, families all throughout the St. Louis region hold Eckert’s Farms in their hearts through the cherished traditions and memories they share with their families.

Eckert’s has three farms in the St. Louis Region: The Belleville Country Store & Farm, the Millstadt Fun Farm, and Eckert’s Grafton Farm. Eckert’s also owns an orchard in Versailles, Kentucky, purchased in 2016. The Belleville Farm is the main farm and offers a country store, country restaurant, more than 100 acres of fruits and vegetables, Christmas trees, seasonal festivals, and a number of rotating activities and entertainment.

The Millstadt Farm is unique to the other farms, as it puts a special focus on rides, games, and fun experiences like the bonfire and pumpkin cannon. Those looking for a quaint, rural experience will find it in the Grafton farm, which is located on the beautiful bluff of the Mississippi River. The Versailles farm is located in Woodford County, the heart of horse country and bourbon distilleries.

Eckert’s grows strawberries, asparagus, blackberries, peaches, tomatoes, summer squash, sweet corn, apples, pumpkins, and Christmas trees, among other things. Each season includes specialty products and programming like Easter Egg-Citement in the spring, the Strawberry Festival in May, peach pie in July, apple picking and cider donuts in September, pumpkin carving and pies in October, and Christmas trees and visits with Santa and Mrs. Claus beginning in November.

Eckert’s has been committed to sustainable agriculture in St. Clair County since 1837. And this commitment was made long before the term “sustainable” was ever coined. At Eckert’s, we utilize sustainable farming methods to grow the highest quality food possible for our family and customers to enjoy. For more than a century, we have utilized integrated crop management and integrated pest management practices to grow our crops. Every day of the year, whether rain or shine, our highly trained agricultural team is constantly monitoring our farms to ensure early detection of pests and diseases, as well as to check soil conditions. These pro-active observational practices have allowed us to significantly reduce our use of crop protectants.

In addition, the team at Eckert’s is constantly seeking educational and research opportunities to proactively expand their knowledge of sustainable farming practices. We have recently become members of the Midwest Apple Improvement Association to develop new seedling varieties such as the EverCrisp. In addition, Eckert’s participates in programs with the National Conservation Service. Our team also attends numerous conferences throughout the year, including the Illinois Specialty Growers Conference, Great Lakes Fruit and Vegetable Expo, Mid-Atlantic Fruit and Vegetable Convention, and the Southeast Fruit and Vegetable Conference, among others.

There are few who have grown up in the region who have not made special memories at one of Eckert’s three local farms. For those who haven’t, stop by soon; we’d love to show you around the farm!

Eckert's Farms

[email protected]
951 S. Green Mount Road Belleville, IL 62220

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