Schroeder's Orchard is just a "hobby" that got out of hand. We started planting a few apple trees in the spring of 1974 on five acres just south of Verona. Jim was looking for a way to relax and relieve his stress after a long, long day at the UW-Extension office.
Every year there were a few more trees planted and by 1981 we had more apples than we could give away to family and friends or use ourselves. It was then that we made our first attempt to sell apples. We started with a simple roadside stand along County Highway PH, and then Sharon got us a stall at the Hilidale farmer's market where we've been ever since. The market is located at the Hilidale Shopping Center at the corner of University Ave. and Midvate Blvd. on the near west side of Madison. Sharon handled selling at the market on her own, and was happy when Jim joined her after his retirement in 2000. Sharon put Jim in charge of public relations as she would say "He was not much help, but he sure likes to visit with the customers".
Now the orchard has about 400 mostly dwarf trees, and with a limited amount of land some older varieties have had to make way for newer ones. We are always trying to anticipate the next best variety (it takes four to jive years for a newly planted tree to bear fruit). and we are excited to be bringing Snow Sweet to the market this year. Our children always ask why we're still growing apples, and the answer is easy "We're still having fun" and we still enjoy the challenges that come with every growing season.
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