In his early teens, Roger began helping out on the family orchard. Growing up around farming equipment sparked a genuine interest in the family business and unfolded into a passion for research and the meticulous planning of an apple farm. From a young age, the orchard has become part of their identity, shaping their connection to the land and fostering a deep-rooted commitment to preserving its roots.
Centennial Farms is located just 25 miles from Lake Michigan, allowing for unique benefits to their crops. Reduced concern for water and frost provides a proficient and quality growing process. The region’s elevation and the protective influence of the lakes contribute to the success of the cultivation. Reduced concern for water and frost provides a proficient and quality growing process.
Today, Centennial Farms is committed to keeping up with market trends while remaining focused on staple varieties like fuji, gala, and golden delicious. They also take pride in growing early Honeycrisp and the popular branded variety, Smitten®. Roger and Mark also operate Umlor Orchards, an illustrious apple packing facility, alongside cousins Steve and Vince Umlor.
“There is always something new in the apple industry, which makes this livelihood interesting. We keep up on new technologies, varieties, and farming techniques in general, but every year is different,” Roger says. “And just when you think you have it under control, a new challenge arises.”