After inheriting their farm from Agnes’ parents, Webster Groves Farmers Market vendors Greg and Agnes Kamp decided to turn it into an orchard, Agnes Kamp said.
“We planted it over 30 years ago,” she said. “Of course they aren’t all the same trees, we’ve taken them out and replaced them over the years.”
The first thing you’ll see when you drive up to the orchard on Auer Road in Golden Eagle, IL, is what Kamp calls the “pole building.”
“That’s where we start the peaches, and it’s where people can come see them on display,” Agnes said. “We also have vegetables and fruits for sale, as well as pickles and preserves.”
Perfect Peaches and More
There’s a reason the peaches that come from Kamp’s Orchards are so highly sought-after.
“It’s the ground,” Anges said. “It’s the clay hillsides. That’s what we were told by an extension advisor years ago.”
She said that part of the land is also used for gardens for farming various vegetables and fruits.
Agnes said that most of the time, on-site customers can purchase tomatoes, peppers, squash and pickles, but some of the produce isn’t available yet this year.
“It’s a bad year on vegetables due to the extreme heat,” said Greg Kamp.
Meet the Kamps
Greg and Agnes Kamp were married in 1940, and when Patch asked the secret of such a long and successful marriage, Mrs. Kamp offered a single piece of wisdom.
“I guess you put up with one another,” she said.
The couple has four adult children and seven grandchildren, and while all her kids have their own homes, they help around the orchards when they can.
“When they’re not working, my kids come home,” Agnes said. “Not all the time, but they help when they do.”
She said one son even comes from Georgia a few times each peach season and spends about 10 days helping on each trip.
“My daughters and granddaughters work in the shed sorting peaches,” she said. “They’ll help on weekends.”
Greg spent 37 years doing shift work with Laclede Steel in Alton before retiring in 1997.
“He retired, and a couple of years later, they went bankrupt,” Agnes said. “We lost our insurance and everything, and now we’re paying $10 or $11 thousand a year.”
She added that a lot of farmers are in the couple’s predicament when it comes to health insurance.
“The older they get, the more they pay,” she said.
See You at the Market
In addition to the Webster Groves Farmers Market, Kamp’s Orchards peaches and produce can be found at the Clayton, Ferguson and Highland (IL) markets.