Barthel Fruit FarmMiles to Market - 20 Located 12246 N. Farmdale Road
Bob Barthel and Nino Ridgway have been working together for 23 years growing apples in their Mequon orchard. Barthel, has been here his entire life, raised on the land his great-grandfather homesteaded in 1839.
It was a combined orchard and dairy farm through the 1950s, when Barthel’s dad sold the herd and expanded the orchard and started growing strawberries.
Ridgway came to the farm as a doctoral student studying entomology and never left. Barthel started running the orchard in 1978 and bought it from his dad a year later. The biggest change, Barthel said, is replanting the orchard.
“We’ve changed how we grow fruit,” Barthel said, referring to the shift to higher yielding dwarf varieties. “Just learning how to grow fruit like that is exciting."
The 25-acre orchard is filled with 19,000 trees. Each year, as some trees get too old and their productivity wanes, Barthel plants new ones to replace them.
Last year, he planted 1,000 trees. Next year, he expects to plant 600. Among the 20 varieties in the orchard, are many traditional apples like Cortland, Ginger Gold and McIntosh. Barthel also grows the popular Honey Crisp apple.