For over 60 years Vernon and Margret Zickert, along with their 5 daughters, managed a very productive orchard on the farm.
This small family run business became well known throughout southern Wisconsin. People would regularly come from Madison, Milwaukee, and surrounding areas to buy the fresh fruit.
Vernon truly loved the orchard and in his later years would occupy his spare time by mowing the grass around the fruit trees. Vernon continued picking apples through the autumn of his 100th year. As he aged, he came to rely on his daughters more and more at harvest time. One story that his eldest (LuAnn) told us was about the year that Vernon turned 100. They were hand picking apples, as always, when Vernon came to her with a bushel basket full of apples and said “Lu, I just can’t do this anymore. This bushel of apples is just too heavy”. LuAnn, being the loving and caring daughter that she was, looked at her dad and with the sweetest most sincere voice she had, simply said “then take a few apples out!”
Margret also loved the orchard. Her passion was for cooking and baking. Margret became ‘locally famous’ as her passion for the kitchen evolved into entering many culinary contests. Margret’s baking won her many prizes including a trip to Hawaii.
After the picking of the fruit, every piece, every single piece, was hand polished before it was considered ready for sale. The Zickert’s put up a building on the farm specifically for their orchard business and over time even had to build an addition on to it!
The Zickert Orchard, home of Zickert’s Apples, is really an orchard to behold, growing over 20 different species of apples and 3 different kind of Pears, along with cherries, plums, peaches, apricots and grapes.
With the permission of the Zickert daughters, we will be continuing the tradition of ‘Zickert Apples’.
The orchard has sat idle for many years now, and will take several more to continue the pruning, etc. to get the trees back into production. There are many ‘Heirloom’ trees in the orchard that are still bearing fruit, as well as younger trees that have many more years of production in them. As we work at revitalizing the old orchard, our intent is to plant ‘young stock’ and introduce some new fruit varieties to keep the orchard going for many more generations.
As a start to reintroducing the orchard to the public, the last 2 seasons we have sold our pears to Wollersheim Winery in Prairie du Sac, WI. There, in their distillery, our pears have been turned into pear EAU DE VIE (pear brandy). It is so exciting to know that fruits from our orchard, the Zickert Orchard, are once again being sold to the public.