MURPHYSBORO, Ill. — Among one of Jackson County’s oldest farms, Mileur Orchard is one of several hosts for the July meeting in the Southern Illinois Twilight Series.
Owners Howard and Lisa Mileur are working with the Jackson and Union County Farm Bureaus for the free meeting at 6 p.m. July 8, at 172 Mileur Orchard Road, off Illinois 149, west of Murphysboro.
While the Mileurs will share their experiences running a small orchard featuring a bakery in its retail shop, the Farm Bureau folks will be on hand encouraging more education about farms in the region.
If that’s not enough, some tasty samples are promised at the meeting’s end.
University of Illinois Extension local food systems and small farms educators Bronwyn Aly and Nathan Johanning have been partnering with area farms over the past five years to provide evening meetings during the summer months to highlight and demonstrate diverse farming enterprises across southern Illinois.
The Mileurs’ farm has been in the family since the mid-1800s, and the first fruit trees were planted in 1961. Howard and Lisa have continued this fruit growing tradition since Howard’s father first planted the original trees.
In 2010, they expanded the retail space, building a new retail market, which included a new cooler and small commercial kitchen. They use the commercial kitchen to make fruit cobblers and desserts to sell at the market. They also sell at the Urbana Farmers Market and market some fruit wholesale.
Today, the orchard grows more than 30 varieties of peaches and nine varieties of apples, along with some apriums, pluots and plums.
Although this meeting is provided at no cost, pre-registration is appreciated. To register, call 618-695-6060.
The series closes with an Aug. 19 meeting at the Jackson County Extension office in Ava. There will be a tour and review of the test plots and high tunnel production.