2004 the Van Laar family moved from the Chicago suburb of Lisle, IL, to the rural town of Capron, IL, located in the county of Boone. We moved for the purpose of beginning a family fruit farm where we all participate using the gifts our Creator has granted each of us. The farm was formed with the vision of some day being able to pass a sustainable practice down to the next generation (Multiple Generational Vision).
2005-2008: the fruit farm began to grow by planting apple, pear & peach trees, strawberries and raspberries. We found that our fruit was loved by all. At the farmers markets, we saw a need for great tasting sweet corn and tomatoes so we planted a number of trial plots to determine the best for fresh eating and the best for processing.
2009-present: the farm added more apple, pear and peach trees as well as strawberries and raspberries. We also started growing blackberries and hard red winter wheat. We added free range chickens as well as honey bees. Currently, we have approximately 3,750+ apple trees, 90 pear trees, 250 peach trees, a few acres of strawberry, raspberry & blackberry plants, 3,000+ tomatoes and many acres of sweet corn. We continue to invest and grow as we are blessed with more customers who are attracted to our produce.
As the family has worked together over the past few years, we have become more aware of the effects that farming practices have on the environment, some good, some not so good. We realize that the farming culture of the past does not necessarily need to be the farming practices of today. As the family grows in our understanding, we are learning that sustainability with regards to economic, environmental and social considerations is the key to moving forward as a farming family. For this reason the farm operates with minimal debt, uses many organic based compounds for fertilizing, and pest (insects and disease) management, and has locally sold its produce in the immediate region of the farm. We have become increasingly aware of the microbiology of the soil and how a healthy soil requires less N-P-K nutrients to grow the same plant. Although we are not an organic farm, due to the disease pressure in the Midwest, we strive each day to be good stewards of the many blessings of the resources we have been given.
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