I grew up in the family business. I’d get off the bus every day and work and then would do hayrides on the weekend; I’d drive the tractor. You see the struggles of farming. You see the stress.

I was born here. I grew up here. I’m the fifth generation of Kercher’s Sunrise Orchard and Farm Market. I’m definitely ingrained in the community. I’ve been here for 35 years.

1922 was when we first started the farm market on the corner of State Road 15 and County Road 38. We had the farm market there until 1992, and then we moved it here. My great-great-grandfather, William Wheeler Kercher, was the founder. So, it’s almost a hundred years.

Every weekend we have free hayrides to our pumpkin patch. We have a corn maze out there, and then every day in the fall we have u-pick apples. That runs until the beginning of November. We have two weekends left for the hayrides.

We have a good following – a lot of community support. It’s generational for them now, too, where it’s the parents and grandparents who came out when they were little – even if it was the farm market that we had on 15 almost 100 years ago. Now their kids and their grandkids and great-grandkids, they all come out.

Visitors can experience picking apples and picking pumpkins and seeing where their food comes from a little bit more, because a lot of people, there’s just so much disconnect anymore.

My mom – Mrs. Apple, as people know her – does school tours every day. So we get about 5,000 kids every September and October who come through from local schools.

So, you know my parents didn’t make us. They didn’t push us into it. I always liked healthcare. I researched a little bit. I went into dental hygiene for 12 years, and that was great, and I still have my license.

After having kids, I have a 5- and 7-year-old, I decided it was time to come back. So my mom said, “You think about it and think about what’s right for your family.” And I thought about it, and I said, “You know, I’ve always loved this place, and I grew up doing it. So it feels like home.”

Writing, editing, and photography by Scott Weisser and Neil King

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