For the first three generations, it was primarily a general farm with grain, fruits, vegetables, and livestock. In the fourth generation through present generations, it has specialized in fruit crops. In the sixth generation, we began to add vegetables (particularly pumpkins) as a specialty crop, in addition to grain and livestock.
Braeutigam Orchards has been in the family since 1831, but it wasn’t until 1935 that Rollin Braeutigam started raising fruit. Rollie enjoyed selling fruit to his friends so much that he raised more then could sell! So he decided to take his beautiful ripe peaches to the St. Louis Market. Lester, his son, and Marie, his daughter-in-law, helped him load those peaches in a truck and drove to St. Louis. Unfortunately, they did not realize that the market wanted greener fruit and they did not receive a good price. But Rollin and Lester believed tree-ripened peaches had the best and most appeal. Marie said, “Don’t worry we will just sell the peaches right on the farm!” However, Rollin did not believe that people would leave the main road and drive 1 mile down a dirt road to purchase fruit, but he was wrong. He soon found out that people would go anywhere for great tasting, tree-ripened fruit. Lester continued in the family business of growing and selling fruit with help from his wife, Marie for many years. Lester was a very well-liked man and Marie made the best fruit pies using her favorite apples – Golden Delicious.
In 1950, Pat Braeutigam was born to Lester and Marie. She instantly became a part of the Braeutigam Orchards family tradition as the sixth generation. Tom Range started working for Lester in 1963 and immediately fell in love with everything about farm life and the orchard, including Pat. Tom and Pat married in 1970 and officially took over ownership of the farm in 1980 following Lester and Marie’s retirement. Tom and Pat went on to have three children of their own, Julie, Sheila, and Kurt. The oldest daughter Julie, married Mick Covlin. They live on the farm with their two children, Cullen and Quinn, in the house that her Grandpa Lester grew up in as a boy. The second child, Sheila, married Doug Lueking. They live on the Lueking Dairy Farm in Hoffman with their two children, Shana and Drew. The youngest child, Kurt, lives on the farm with his three children, Griffin, Ellie and Gavin. They live in the home that Tom and Pat built. Kurt is actively involved with the Orchard Operations. In addition, Kurt owns and operates the Braeutigam Orchards Greenhouse.
Today, Braeutigam Orchards remains a family owned and operated farm by the sixth and seventh generations. The eighth generation has already begun its training to become the future farmers of Braeutigam Orchards and continue the family farming tradition for many years to come! We hope that you will join in our tradition!
Past and Present Generations of Braeutigam Orchards
1st Generation- Fred and Susan Merrill (Approximately 1831-1854)
2nd Generation- Jordan and Martha (daughter) Sandidge (1854-1886)
3rd Generation- Oscar and Aurora(daughter) Braeutigam (1886-1914)
4th Generation- Rollin (son) and Mamie Braeutigam (1914-1939)
5th Generation -Lester(son) and Marie Braeutigam (1939-1980)
6th Generation- Tom and Pat (daughter) Range (1980-present)
7th Generation- Kurt Range (son)
8th Generation- In training