In the 1950’s, driving thru the Kaw River area outside of Topeka 
            was a trip through a world of fruit.  Many from Grantville to North 
            Topeka grew and sold a wide variety of fruits and vegetables.  Our 
            farm is the only roadside market still standing and operating from 
            the generations of yesteryear.

                In 1901, J. G. and Nora Rees opened their family barn to sell 
            the fruits they and their children produced on the family farm.  The 
            family home was located just a mile north and approximately 1/2 mile 
            to the east of our current location.  The fruits raised by the 
            family at that time were: strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, 
            dewberries, apples, peaches,pears and cherries.  They also produced 
            apple cider.  The family properties stretched from the current 31st 
            street area south to just north of our farm now.

                Norris and Lucille owned and operated a grocery in North Topeka, 
            later purchasing the grocery in Meriden.  In 1950, Norris and 
            Lucille purchased the current 80 acrea block of property that the 
            majority of our farm sits on today.  They built their home on the  
            hill, planted apples, peaches, grapes, cherries, and strawberries on 
            the land to the south and east, then built a packing shed on the 
            southwest corner of the property.  The two farms seemed to merge 
            becoming one to be taken care of by all who were still involved in 
            the family farm, now selling the produce and cider from the new 

                After the death of J.G. in 1952, the original family property 
            had been sectioned off and sold.  Norris obtained a portion of the 
            original family orchard, as well as the original family homestead 
            property, which is now called the “north orchard” The old shacks can 
            still be seen over the hill off of K-4 Hwy just past 27th street.  
            The original homestead was located on the property to the east of 
            the north orchard, now only home to a few trees surrounding the 
            little hill where the cave is.  This property is currently used for 
            brome production.

                Norris eventually sold his groceries and followed his fruit 
            farming desires, becoming very successful in fruit farming, 
            diversifying the crops and providing more variety to his consumers.

                The current  Rees farm is owned and operated by Rex and his 
            family (3rd generation of fruit  farmers, 4th generation of family 
            in the Grantville area) on approximately 117 acres of land.   80 
            acres are in fruit and vegetable production, while the other 37 
            acres are used for personal home and farm use.

                Of the 80 acres, 75% of that is in apple production, growing 30   
            varieties, harvesting summer apples as early as July and finishing 
            harvest in early November.   Many other crops are grown and 
            harvested in our market from early April thru the first part of 
            November.  For a list of these crops, see What We grow. 

                Today our farm operates much the way it did over 100 years ago.  
            During the 1950’s, the highwy department constructed 24 Highway, 
            taking out the strawberry fields and reforming a low area into a 
            creek to drain into the Kansas River for flood control.  This 
            separated the orchard from the market area, so a bridge across 
            the creek was needed.  Norris purchased a bridge from the highway 
            department, which they installed.  At the time, the bridge was 
            about 100 years old, assuming the bridge today would be more than 
            150 years old.  The bridge has been very sturdy allowing many 
            trucks, tractors and various equipment access to the orchard 
            through the years.  

                The current cider mill was believed to have been purchased in 
            the early 1960’s from Michigan Orchard Supply.  The rack and cloth 
            press was the most productive in it’s day and still operates 
            efficiently for us now.  Each bushel of apples pressed will produce 
            approximately 3-4 gallons of cider.  The cider room was built after 
            the cider press was installed, therefore it leaves no room for 
            expansion.  The 2 tanks holding cider are refrigerated stainless and
            hold a total of 1,500 gallons of cider.

                Upon trying to locate information about our history, an invoice 
            for the popcorn machine was found.  It was purchased new in 1967 as 
            a compliment to the cider slush.  The popcorn machine is still used 
            today and we continue to make daily the “good ol’ fashion” popcorn 
            with the same ingredients used then.

                The trademark for Rees Fruit Farm is the famous “Sweet Apple 
            Cider Slush”.  In the early 1960’s, Norris purchased the 2nd slush 
            machine manufactured from Wilch Manufacturing, located here in 
            Topeka.  Clarence Wilch was the original inventor of the fluid ice 
            slush machine, although we are not sure he had his invention 
            patented.  The first slush machine his company manufactured was sold 
            to Dairy Queen in North Topeka, the original Dairy Queen in Topeka.  
            Norris often told the story of how Mr. Wilch approached him to sell 
            the slush machine, and Norris’ response was “the only thing I’d know 
            todo is put cider in it”.  They tried the cider, which needed no 
            extra sugars or waters added, and it made a perfect slush.  Our #1 
            seller today is the Apple Cider Slush.

                Rees Fruit Farm is the oldest commercial fruit farm in Kansas, 
            and the 2nd oldest business in Jefferson County.  Walking through 
            the doors of our market will take you to a time of history unknown      
            today, but familiar of the stories heard from those who have shared             
            memories of so many years ago.   

                We welcome you to come and enjoy our farm and endure the 
            nostalgic history we treasure so much built by the never tiring 
            hands of our forefathers.  

Family History What We Grow How To Contact Us!
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Rees Fruit Farm © 2006