Since its inception over fifty years ago, Leach Farms has always made a specialty of growing celery. While we continue to grow other crops, celery has always been our specialty. From the very beginning celery was found to thrive both on the farms muck soils and in the generally cool microclimate on the south shore of Lake Poygan.
Through continued hard work, innovation and considerable trial and error, we have extended our expertise in growing celery well beyond the benefits of the soil and climate. A number of celery varieties have been developed specifically for the farm. But our expertise in celery goes beyond the crop itself.
We have also developed much of the equipment used in the daily operation of the farm and in the processing of the celery crop. The transplanting, harvesting and some of the processing equipment was designed, built or adapted for use here on the farm.
Pete Leach started Leach Farms in 1952 on a two-acre portion of his fathers duck hunting preserve. Pete, having no interest in his fatherís company, had originally studied to be a rancher. However, his father, thoroughly detesting horses, disagreed with his career choice and asked him to see what profitable use might be made of his hunting property.
Pete and his father, after having traveled extensively through California and Florida visiting various farms, decided to try vegetables. After extensive field trials, celery and lettuce were selected for production.
At first the farm produced celery and lettuce for the retail market. In time though, this proved to have its ups and downs. To provide some price stability, Pete decided to enter the processing business supplying stick celery to soup manufacturers and canning companies. A decade later he built a processing plant that enabled him to provide sliced and diced celery as well as sticks. In 1995 the freezer was added which allowed the farm to provide IQF celery to our customers.
Physically, the farm has grown as well over the years. What started out as a two-acre test plot has now grown through gradual additions to over a thousand acres of farmland. The small lean-to packing shed that served as a shelter to pack the early crops has now turned into a modern fifty thousand square foot processing and cooler facility.