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Illinois farmer wants to leave a legacy of apple trees

An Illinois farmer is hoping to one day leave behind a legacy of apple trees.

Greg Durdan of Big Bear Orchard in Grand Ridge, Illinois tells Brownfield he has had a love for apples since he was a kid, so after his retirement five year ago, he and his wife took on planting apple trees as a hobby.

“I think the reason I enjoy it so much is it hasn’t changed. We still pick apples by hand and prune apples by hand. Just imagine if farmers were still picking corn by hand- the differences there and how apple grower challenges are different than corn and soybean farmers, yet we are all involved in agriculture.”

Durdan now cares for more than 150 apple trees and produces around 300 gallons of cider each year that he shares with people in his community.

But,his ultimate goal is for his trees to continue giving long after he’s gone.

“Until I die, I’d like to plant at least 100 trees for people every year, just as a gift to them, and teach them how to take care of them. I do it for nothing, because when I die I want to be remembered as the guy that planted apple trees all over.”

In the meantime, Durdan says he finds satisfaction in gifting apples to people who don’t have the means to grow them themselves.

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