The Eckert Family has a seven-generation commitment to farming in Southern Illinois.
For more than 175 years, members of the Eckert family have been creating lifelong memories on our farm. Groups of cousins picking blueberries while basking in the warmth of a beautiful spring day. Moms teaching kids to cook by baking pies on a lazy summer afternoon. Sunday dinners with the entire Eckert family gathered together in the rustic ambiance of our historic farm house. Siblings enjoying crisp fall afternoons choosing the perfect pumpkin to carve into a jack-o-lantern together. Fathers and sons discussing future plans as the winter sun sets on the farm’s horizon. These are the moments we cherish. And they are at the heart of everything we do.
For more than a century, members of our family have labored in this soil to produce the finest, most nutritious fruits and vegetables possible for our local community, as well as our own family. We’re proud of our agricultural heritage and are humbled by the legacy and reputation of the Eckert name within the region and throughout the United States.
Every day, we seek to find the best, most thoughtful answer to the one simple question, “how can we provide the most nutritious, delicious food for ourselves and ensure the same for future generations?” While this answer has evolved over the years, our commitment to finding the best farming methods has not. Eckert’s has been committed to sustainable agriculture in St. Clair County since 1837. And this commitment was made long before the term “sustainable” was ever coined. At Eckert’s, we utilize sustainable farming methods to grow the highest quality food possible for our family and customers to enjoy.
Eckert’s pledge to sustainable farming practices is unsurpassed.
Sustainability in agriculture means meeting the food needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to do the same. It encompasses farming methods that are environmentally sound, economically viable and protect public health. It also brings into consideration the working and living conditions of laborers, enhancement of the land upon which farming depends, the living and working conditions of laborers, and the ability to make the most efficient use of nonrenewable and on-farm resources.
Our family has been farming in Southern Illinois for seven generations. And it’s our hope, the next generation of Eckert children will share their ancestor’s passion for providing nutritious, healthful foods for our local community while utilizing farming methods that protect our precious natural resources for their own children, grandchildren, great grandchildren and beyond.
At Eckert’s, we utilize sustainable farming practices that have been specifically tailored to the unique environment and ecosystem within our region. These practices include:
- Crop rotation
- Crop diversity
- Drip irrigation
- Soil sampling and monitoring
- Native pollinator habitats
- Brush mulching
- Mulches for weed control
- Insect trapping and monitoring
- Insect-mating disruption
- Protective practices for predatory insects
- Halted use of commercial honeybees for pollination
- Computer-aided disease and insect modeling
- Established turf to reduce soil erosion
- Cover crops to build soil nutrition
- Plant variety growing trials
Eckert’s is dedicated to utilizing best-in-class farming methods and educating consumers on food production.
For more than a century, Eckert’s has utilized integrated crop management and integrated pest management practices to grow our crops. Every day of the year, whether rain or shine, our highly trained agricultural team is constantly monitoring our farms to ensure early detection of pests and diseases, as well as to check soil conditions. These pro-active observational practices have allowed us to significantly reduce our use of crop protectants.
Our first line of defense is crop health. Our second is crop protection. Throughout the growing season, the team at Eckert’s thoughtfully utilizes different methods for different crops and their various threats, which may include insects or diseases. Our pest management techniques are carefully targeted. We only apply crop protectants at the right time, in the right amounts and in the right places.
Both conventional and organic farming methods allow for the use of crop protectant sprays. If necessary, Eckert’s uses crop protectants that will have the least impact on our farms, our products and our environment. When protectants are used, Eckert’s takes great care to minimize damage to beneficial natural organisms like bees, predatory insects and pollinators. Eckert’s adheres to all EPA requirements and is licensed by the State of Illinois to spray the organic and synthetic compounds used.
In addition, the team at Eckert’s is constantly seeking educational and research opportunities to proactively expand their knowledge of sustainable farming practices. We have recently worked with the Midwest Apple Improvement Association to develop new seedling varieties such as the EverCrisp. In addition, Eckert’s participates in programs with the National Conservation Service. Our team also attends numerous conferences throughout the year including the Illinois Specialty Growers Conference, Great Lakes Fruit and Vegetable Expo, Mid-Atlantic Fruit and Vegetable Convention, Southeast Fruit and Vegetable Conference, among others.
Eckert’s team members are thought leaders within the industry. We actively participate and hold offices in many association including the National Peach Council, Illinois Specialty Growers Association, St. Clair County Farm Bureau, International Fruit Tree Association, Midwest Apple Improvement Association, North American Farm Direct Marketing Association, North American Raspberry and Blackberry Association, and the Eastern Peach Growers Exchange, to name just a few.
If you have any questions about our operations, we encourage you to tour our farms. Explore the modern farming practices we are utilizing in the Eckert’s fields that are specifically tailored to the Southern Illinois environment and ecosystem. Feel free to ask lots of questions. Our team prides itself on the depth of its agricultural knowledge and its commitment to on-going research and education. We extend that same commitment to educating consumers on the healthful foods grown at Eckert’s and the proven health benefits they provide.
Eckerts has provided consumers with locally grown, healthful foods that are an essential part of a nutritious diet for more than 175 years.
We are grateful for the reputation Eckert’s has earned for its commitment to providing generations of area families with locally grown, healthful fruits and vegetables that give them pride when served on their dinner tables. In addition, we are a destination for families to create life-long memories and spend quality family time together.
As a “pick-your-own” farm, our customers have the privilege of experiencing the indulgence of eating the absolute freshest peaches, strawberries, apples, and blackberries, as well as the myriad of other produce grown at Eckert’s. In addition, our stores offer customers the opportunity to purchase fresh fruits and vegetables that are already picked for them to bring home and enjoy year round.
Our family has eaten from these same fields for more than seven generations. And we’ve enjoyed creating family recipes (as well as family memories), in our kitchens from the bountiful harvest our farms produce each year. To discover a few of our family’s favorites, click here.