KENDALLVILLE, Ind (WPTA21) - Agriculture is not only a source of income, it's also the way of life for Noble County. Our trip took us to Orchard Hill Farms in Kendallville that has been in business for 51 years.
"My mom and dad bought what had been a grain farm and planted trees. We just kept growing", said Rick Meyer, Owner of Orchard Hill Farms.
Kept growing they did, now they are the largest wholesale apple orchard in 21 Country. "Walmart is our biggest customer. We ship our apples to them. Most of apples wind up in Indiana Walmart stores", said Meyer.
Growing apples is a year-round process. In the spring, they are prepping for the growing season. While in the summertime, they are making sure the crops are healthy. Then the fall is harvest season.
Meyer said, "we're beginning to pick apples this week and we will be very busy with that through Halloween". For the remaining apples that aren't sold to Walmart, they are put to use at the farm.
"We press our own cider; we make our own apple butter, apple jelly, and apple syrup". Let me just tell you, it takes a lot of apples to make cider.
"A bushel of apples which about 40 pounds of apples can make three gallons of cider. About 13 pounds of apples can make a gallon of cider".
Back in the day there used to be a lot of orchards in Noble County. "Well a lot of them were older folks and they didn't have kids that were interested in taking it over. As they retired or pasted away, the orchards went by the wayside", said Meyer
Rick said "It's vital, I mean it's our livelihood it's what we do, it's what we love, it's our passion. The challenge may be difficult but the journey is sweet".