Learn About Partner Farms
In 1971, after years of working in the family orchards with his father during the 1960s, Jim Barnard was ready to buy his first farm. He purchased an orchard in Illinois, where he was introduced to the new world of natural, organic farming. He’ll proudly tell you that the environmentally responsible, homegrown business flourished over the years he owned it. “People would come all the way from Minneapolis to Illinois to buy our apple cider. They’d come and fill up their station wagons full of it!” he reports with a chuckle. Although that Illinois farm and the cider are no longer part of Barnard Orchards, Jim’s farm in Egg Harbor, Wisconsin, is still a successful venture. He and his wife Crystal moved to Wisconsin around 1974 and transformed a 30-acre run-down dairy farm into over 70 acres of chemical-fertilizer-free orchards. Jim and Crystal’s favorite time of year around the farm is spring when the pear trees blossom.
Support Small-scale, Local, Sustainable Growers
The Barnard family has been growing responsibly since the beginning. Healthy trees and healthy soil are key to growing quality fruit. They have kept things healthy by paying attention to the plants and doing only what is necessary to keep everything balanced. Keeping current on new developments in the organic and sustainable farming industry is also vital.
Partner Farms says selling to a co-op is beneficial because co-ops will purchase smaller quantities of a product, which allows local and regional growers to sell interesting crops and unique varieties. They appreciate the relationships with co-ops like Seward that treats farmers as valuable and valued providers.