High Acres Fruit Farms

Hartford, Michigan

History

The story of High Acres Fruit Farm began in 1942 when Glenn and Katherine Meachum bought an 80-acre tract of land in rural Hartford, Michigan, to grow tart cherries and peaches.   That same year their only son, Douglas, was born.  He inherited sole responsibility for the orchards at the age of 16 when his father passed away.

A few years later, Douglas bought the farm outright from his mother.  He began adding acreage and diversifying the farm operations into other fruits to meet market needs.

Thus began a trend that continues to this day on High Acres Fruit Farm:  Developing crop plans driven by consumer demand.

Growth

By adding acreage over the years, Douglas and his wife, Bonney, were able to keep their three sons – Trever, Jason and Ryan – employed on the farm.

Today, High Acres Fruit Farm supports all four Meachum families on 5,500 acres that includes significant acreage of apples along with strawberries, tart cherries, plums, juice grapes, specialty tomatoes, jalapeno peppers and row crops including soybeans, corn and wheat.

Apples are an important part of the business at High Acres Fruit Farm, located in Van Buren County in Southwest Michigan.  In addition to growing 14 varieties of apples, the Meachums are also partners with another Riveridge grower-partner (Berrybrook Enterprises) in the Shafer Lake apple packing plant located just outside Hartford, Michigan.

“Our family has always put a big priority on quality and meeting buyers’ needs,” said Trever Meachum, Production Manager for High Acres Fruit Farm.  “Having the packing plant – which is the only Riveridge packing plant south of Grand Rapids – gives us even better control over the quality of our product from farm to fork.”

Meachum said High Acres will continue developing its strengths strategically in the years to come, in ways that make economic sense and are supported by staff abilities and marketplace demand.

Sustainability

High Acres Fruit Farm also puts a premium on production research, including Trever’s many years of service on the Research Subcommittee of the Michigan Apple Committee, and the orchards’ cooperation in many Michigan State University research trials.

That interest in research has led the farm to engage in more crop diversity, integrated pest management practices, GPS soil testing on all crops and then using the results in variable-rate fertilizer initiatives.

The need to protect the farm’s productive light soils has led to emphasis on erosion prevention, automated tractors and utilization of precision agriculture.  The Meachums also use natural predators including kestrels, to control rodents that often damage fruit trees.

Future

When High Acres looks to the future and bringing the next generation of Meachums onto the farm, they’re naturally looking at new opportunities in the marketplace.  They’re also transitioning to new planting systems that are more efficient and sustainable.

The extended Meachum family is committed to community service including in their churches, township government, state commodity associations and participation in the International Fruit Tree Association.  Trever was appointed to the Michigan Commission on Agriculture in 2012, and currently serves as chair of the commission which has oversight responsibility for the state’s Department of Agriculture & Rural Development. Jason and Ryan have both been involved in their local school board, Local Foods Corporative and other various church involvements.