What do you do after retiring from a 30-year career in the corporate world? For Tim and Kristi Schulz, they bought an orchard. Not just any orchard. Natives of Southwest Indiana remember fondly the name Engelbrecht Orchard. Tim and Kristi are building on nearly a century old legacy in the Engelbrecht name, while bringing fresh ideas for a new generation of local food.
John Engelbrecht planted the first apple trees in this orchard in 1919. Nearly a century later, many of those same trees still bear fruit. But a lot has changed in Evansville in 100 years, and a lot has changed in the fruit business, too. When Tim and Kristi took over the orchard in 2014, they had their work cut out for them.
Many in the community still recall the fresh produce stands that Engelbrecht once hosted. But the fields where they once stood are now housing developments. So, Tim and Kristi needed to find new ways to get the Engelbrecht fruit into customers hands. They quickly looked to ways that they could directly interact with their customers on the orchard, at local farmers markets, and through the MarketWagon.com online farmers market, too.
They also wanted to update the orchard itself. They have worked closely with Purdue University and experts from the state of Michigan in fruit production over the past two years. They have planted over 1,000 new apple trees, sweet cherry trees, and updated their management practices to make the best use of the varieties that were already growing in the century-old orchard.
Today, the Schulz take great pride in teaching their community about the seasonality of tree fruits. For example, rotating through over 30 distinct varieties of peaches on the orchard allows them to offer fresh peaches nearly all summer as different varieties ripen at different times.
Today, John Engelbrecht would be proud of how his orchard still serves Southwest Indiana 100 years later. The public is encouraged to visit the newest orchard site at 16800 Old Petersburg Road in northern Vanderburgh county. But when you can’t make it out, order your fresh-picked apples online at MarketWagon.com