Eat Fresh, buy local!

Celebrating 179 years of growing fruit!

for sun ripened,

            farm fresh

                simply delicious fruit.

Visit Barthel Fruit Farm


 For us, farming is much more than a job. The way we grow our crops and care for the land is an expression of our beliefs and philosophy. We know that the methods we use to grow food impact our entire community starting with the soil and extending to our family, employees and our customers. The Barthel family has been growing fruit in the same location for over 150 years. Our rich soils, healthy apple trees, and abundant wildlife are testimonials to the sustainability of our farming practices. We have chosen farming methods that are environmentally sound, safe for our employees and customers, as well as practical and economical. We rely on integrated pest management (IPM) to grow our fruit. IPM is an approach that minimizes both crop losses and environmental disruption. Our IPM program includes determination of beneficial insect levels, pest and pathogen levels, infection period analysis, and nurturing soil fertility. Ironically, rigid adherence to "organic" growing methods can cause greater disruption of the ecology of a Midwestern apple orchard than our IPM approach. Research also shows that "organic" pesticides such as sulfur, rotenone, and pyrethrum are just as toxic to non-target organisms as are synthetic materials. Some organic sprays are short-lived; for the ongoing pest problems in orchards they have to be applied very frequently, as often as twice weekly. Thus, so-called "organic" methods can translate into increased toxic exposures to farm workers, wildlife, and natural insect enemies, as well as excess petroleum use and soil compaction.
At Barthel's we practice low input farming. By monitoring insect activity, weather, and early warning signs of disease -- and only using pesticides when necessary -- apple growers using 'Integrated Pest Management' can save money and reduce environmental risks. One person on our staff has a Ph.D. in entomology (insect biology) and is a regional expert controlling apple insect pests without chemicals. Under her direction, our insect pest monitoring program is probably the most intensive and savvy of any orchard in the state! We know exactly which pest insects are present, when, and where. Our scouting program often reveals that natural controls will take care of our pest problems. If natural or organic materials will be effective, we use these. Our orchard spray equipment and application methods have been fine tuned so that we use the smallest amount of pesticide possible. We often use less than half the recommend amount. Control of plant disease is another concern in a healthy apple orchard. We are using a device which allows us to monitor the micro-climate on apple leaves. Only when this device indicates that a damaging infection has begun do we then spray a material which removes the infection. Organic growers must blanket the orchard continuously with sulfur or other materials which only prevent but do not cure fungal infections. Preventive materials must be on an apple throughout the growing season in order to stop any infection that might occur. Our low-input methods include many other non-chemical strategies such as fences, traps, and natural repellents. Our orchard understory is mixed grasses, broad leafed annuals and perennials. These tall grass islands give good protection for beneficial insects, insectivorous birds, and mammals. Nino Ridgway and Bob Barthel started a teaching program on low input integrated pest management ideas and have taught other Wisconsin apple growers. Nino, our staff entomologist, has consulted for the Rodale Research Institute on experimental design for their organic orchard. We work and study hard to remain in the forefront of low input farming. Each winter, we attend state, national, and international conferences to learn the safest and least disruptive methods. We live and work every day on our farm. We work hard to make it a safe place for our family, employees, and our customers. We also grow apples and produce which taste great, store well, and are safe for all of us to eat. Integrated Pest Management has successfully cut our pesticide use 50-70%!

Strawberries, Sugar Snap Peas, Apples, Pears, Plums, Pumpkins, Herbs and Perennials ....

Thank you for supporting us, local farms and farmers. See you soon.

The Barthel family farm has been

growing fruit for 179 years!