This history really starts
in the 1880s when what is now Crane Orchards, was cleared and
planted by H.H. Hutchins. Since the property included frontage
on a beautiful inland lake, the lake itself was named Hutchins
In 1917 a young Michigan Agricultural College graduate and
his wife, Muriel (who also graduated from M.A.C.) started on
their life journey together here at Crane Orchards. They lived,
loved and farmed here together, raising a family and helping
to build the community of Fennville until H.B.s death in 1968.
Muriel followed him in 1974.
In 1950, their youngest son
Robert returned from the Navy and married Lue. They farmed together
and raised kids. Their sons Gary and Rob are both farmers today.
Gary and his wife Sandy own Gary Crane Farm across the road from
Crane Orchards. Rob, along with his wife Maria and Rob's dad
are partners at Crane Orchards.
In 1967 Rob's Mom and Dad, Bob and Lue Crane, were at a crossroads
in their lives and with their family fruit farm. The farm had
been in Bob's family since 1917. It was a beautiful farm, 200
acres of gently rolling hills just four miles inland from majestic
Lake Michigan. It had all the right qualities for growing fruit.
However, the problems the Cranes were having were the same ones
small farmers across the U.S. were having. There was no money
in a small family farm. Corporate farms and foreign imports were
taking their toll on the traditional family farm.
Today, Crane Orchards is one
of the finest u-pick orchards in Michigan. With over 17 different
varieties of apples, 10 varities of peaches and sweet cherries
for the discriminating u-picker to choose from, the scenery is
breathtaking. The fall of 2002 saw the first corn maze for visitors
to get lost in; there is a completely new and different maze
design every year. Also, hayrides around the farm are available
for folks to enjoy on the weekends in the fall. With each new
idea offered to Cranes visitors comes the pleasure of sharing
just a little of what we have here!