ABOUT CURTIS ORCHARD
From prairie, to farmland, to apple orchard ... how this piece of central Illinois changed! Who knew that this land would someday be one of the area's favorite places for family fun?
After the Curtis family first settled southwest of Champaign in 1873, Paul Curtis traded the traditional corn & beans for apples. He & his wife Joyce planted the first trees in 1977. Soon, this couple had a growing business on their hands. Paul & Joyce’s vision of following God’s will for their lives led Paul to retire from Parkland College and go into the apple business full-time.
This young couple worked hard, raised children Debbie, Greg & Chris, and grew the orchard from 700 trees in ‘77 to around 5000 trees today. Debbie’s husband Randy Graham joined the business in ‘83. Now he & Debbie are co-owners and their children Aaron, Rachel, Carissa, Cameron & Julie contribute to Curtis Orchard’s success.
Along the way, God’s providence carried the orchard through both good & trying times. His protective hand kept the farm safe from tree-ravaging fire-blight bacteria, the extreme drought of 1988, and most recently - a late frost in 2007, which destroyed almost all apple & peach crops in Illinois. Amazingly, the Curtis crop that year not just survived, but was one of the best in years.
Now it’s time to make some history of your own. Start a family tradition here. You have plenty of choices: pick apples & pumpkins, feed goats, celebrate birthdays, and much more. Fresh country air and plenty of memories are waiting for you at Curtis Orchard.
IS CURTIS ORCHARD ORGANIC?
Not quite, but we are as close to organic as possible for our climate region. Extensive university research has shown that the high humidity here makes commercial production without fungicides impossible. In addition, the lack of natural predators for the infamous codling moth (whose larvae is the classic apple worm) makes some spraying for that pest necessary.
There is good news, however. Technologies developed in recent years allow us to greatly reduce our pesticide usage compared to 15 years ago. These Integrated Pest Management (IPM) methods enable us to:
- Monitor conditions in the orchard and pumpkin patch.
- Apply sprays only when necessary.
- Target only pests that represent a threat.
Many of these new techniques have been developed in our own backyard at the University of Illinois. We have built a strong relationship with scientists there, ensuring that you can enjoy flavorful apples without pests or excessive chemicals.
Click on the chart below to learn about apple pests and their management.
Adobe Reader required to view chart.