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Fall fun: Kramp picks apples and raspberries at the Old Homestead Orchard

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FRANKSVILLE -- Brian spent the morning at the Old Homestead Orchard picking apples and raspberries and checking out the Blue Star Antique store.

History of Old Homestead Orchard (website)

Thomas Drought came to Wisconsin and settled on this very land in 1840. He bought the land from the United States Government through a land patent dated December 10, 1840. It was the last great chunk of state land open for sale. Thomas married Caroline in 1842 and along with their twelve children they developed the land and lived a comfortable life because of their untiring labor. Today, this same land is registered as the oldest homestead in Racine County that has remained in the same family name and is currently owned by Jim and Carolyn Drought. Which is why the name Old Homestead for the current orchard operations seemed appropriate.

There has been an orchard on this land from the beginning which has included apples, pears, plums, berries and nuts. Wesley Drought, Thomas’s grandson, had a strong interest in horticulture and he was continuously adding new fruit and apple varieties to the family orchard. It wasn’t until the 1950’s that Wesley took his orchard to a different level. By this time, he had approximately 50 apple, pear and plum trees that were providing him with a well needed income. Wesley was doing something he had an interest in as well as a passion for. The orchard was Wesley’s pride and joy and he was well known in the area for producing some of the finest apples. Wesley lived and worked on the homestead until his death in 1976.

Today’s orchard only has a few of Wesley’s original trees, but the orchard spirit has carried on through the current owner, Jim Drought. As a kid, Jim spent many hours helping Wesley in the orchard. Jim inherited Wesley’s interest in the orchard and is striving to make the Orchard Store at Old Homestead into a fine, productive orchard once again. Jim and his wife, Carolyn, invite you to experience their fresh fruit, cider and other quality products available in the orchard store in 2015.

Jim & Carolyn Drought