Jeff and Julie Warren planted trees at BerryView Orchard eight years ago.
On Aug. 29, the owners of the Mt. Morris apple and aronia berry orchard will have a new store building to sell the fruits of their labor.
“I think it adds more professionalism,” Jeff Warren said. “We added a concession trailer as well that we’ve used to sell donuts and aronia berry lemonade slushies. In the past years we’ve served those out of the garage and now we’ll have the trailer on the property.”
Last year was the first that BerryView was open every weekend. The years before were “hit and miss.” The aronia berries will be ready on Aug. 29 and will be good for picking for two weeks after that. Apples will start to pop up around that time as well.
The orchard is on the same property as the Warren’ home.
“We’ve outgrown the garage,” Jeff Warren said. “We built the new store ourselves. We had an existing barn from when we had horses we built 10-12 years ago. We put walls up and finished the ceiling and electric. It’s a repurposed barn. My son and a friend helped do it.”
Berries, apples, and some other local small business products will be available on Saturday. The trailer will be there for slushies.
The Warrens expected to use their new trailer off the property more this year, but COVID-19 had other plans. They did make it to Oregon and Sauerkraut Days in Forreston where they did “well” selling slushies and donuts. They got familiar with the selling process in the trailer.
BerryView planned on making the now-canceled Ogle County Fair and other gatherings. It remains to be seen what impact COVID-19 will have on this fall’s operations at the orchard.
The couple has worked with the Ogle County Health Department on how to operate safely. Edwards Orchard in Poplar Grove and Winnebago will be doing a drive thru this fall.
“We’re hoping we don’t have to do that,” Jeff Warren said. “We haven’t had that kind of crowd in the past. But there’s less places to go now. It could be good for us, but it could be too good for us and we have to limit things. We’ll have signage and sanitation in the store.”
Warren has enjoyed seeing his orchard grow over the years. He thinks customers have enjoyed it, too.
“What has amazed me is the community support,” Warren said. “A lot of people say, ‘There’s an orchard in Mt. Morris?’ They come out and say how convenient it is. We don’t have the bounce houses and crowds and chaos.
“It’s an old-fashioned community orchard. And people like that. They enjoy nature and relax.”