MORGAN, Minn. — The University of Minnesota continued its tradition of recognizing a family in each of Minnesota's 87 counties for its commitment to farming and continuing education.
The honored families are announced during Farmfest.
Sekapp Orchard of Rochester was named by the University of Minnesota as its Olmsted County Farm Family of the Year.
The Kappauf family has owned Sekapp Orchard since 1962, when it was purchased from the Dunn family. Ben Dunn was a horticulture teacher with Rochester Public Schools and much of the farm’s diversity today is said to be traceable to him.
Initially, Joyce and Ken Kappauf knew little about operating an orchard when they purchased it, but they thought it would be a good place to raise their four children.
The Kappaufs planted several varieties of apple trees over the years and joined the Minnesota Apple Growers Association to continue their education as orchardists. There are now more than 7,000 apple trees of more than 25 varieties growing on about Sekapp Orchard's 160 acres in southeast Rochester.
The farm is operated by the Kappaufs’ son, Terrence (Fred), and his three children. Each spring the orchard employs up to 10 employees; in the fall, up to 30 people work to pick, wash and sell the apples.
Other southern Minnesota farm families honored this year are:
• Blue Earth County — May Farm.
• Brown County — Brooke and John Knisley.
• Cottonwood County — Steve and Cheryl Dick family.
• Dodge County — Yankowiak Family Farm.
• Faribault County — Tom and Deb Trio family.
• Fillmore County — Dave and Tracie Mensink family.
• Freeborn County — Steve and Linda Kraushaar.
• Goodhue County — Hovel Farms.
• Houston County — Morken Farms.
• Jackson County — Brad and Meg Freking family.
• Le Sueur County — Jeremy and Heidi Geske family.
• Lincoln County — Schalek Family Farm.
• Lyon County — Ben and Stacey Ludeman family.
• Martin County — Helvig Farms.
• Mower County — Richard and Rosalie Carroll.
• Murray County — Herrig family.
• Nobles County — Bill and Dawn Gordon family.
• Pipestone County — Bobendrier family.
• Redwood County — Joel and Amanda Mathiowetz family.
• Rice County — Jeff and Lisa LaCanne.
• Rock County — MD Partnership (Mark Dahl and Diane Kennedy).
• Steele County — Glenn Johnson family.
• Wabasha County — Kenny and Vicky Dohrn family.
• Waseca County — Paul and Sarah Berry and family.
• Watonwan County — Lawrence and Ruth Haler.
• Winona County — Chosen Acres (Glen Haag family).