For immediate release Jan. 1, 2023
For more information, contact Michelle Sirles: 618-697-1715
By SHANNON WOODWORTH
ALTO PASS — State officials are calling it one of Illinois’ great agricultural achievements.
“When you talk agriculture in Illinois, there are so many great stories, so many great achievements, but this one ranks right up there at the top,” said State Senator Dale Fowler (R-Harrisburg). “A lot needs to be said about this in the coming year.”
Rendleman Orchards, located near the Union County village of Alto Pass, is turning 150 years old in 2023.
The orchard — known primarily for its delicious apples and peaches — was established in 1873 by John and Isabelle Rendleman. Today, the orchard is run by fifth generation family members Wayne and Michelle Sirles.
“Rendleman Orchards exemplifies what makes agriculture in Illinois so great,” said Lt. Gov. Juliana Stratton. “We say agriculture is a driving force in Illinois because of forward-thinking and hardworking enterprises like Rendleman Orchards.”
Stratton, a native of Chicago, noted that Rendleman’s produce makes the trek 349 miles north to her hometown and is enjoyed by many of Cook County’s 5.2 million residents who purchase it through supermarkets and produce stands.
“Rendleman Orchards has honored a tradition of fostering connections to the land by providing food for 150 years,” Stratton pointed out. “Illinois is so proud that their commitment to helping feed and grow our state has built this inspiring legacy.”
Stratton continued, “The generations of Rendlemans have shown passion and dedication of creating the excellence that is Illinois agriculture.”
Fowler couldn’t agree more.
“Rendleman Orchards is an outstanding monument to Illinois agriculture,” Fowler said. “It is a shining example of what hard work, vision, and generations of family dedication can accomplish. ‘Amazing’ is an understatement when you consider that this orchard has endured since 1873 and grown to be the massive operation that it is today.”
The orchard covers 850 acres, nestled in the hills of Southern Illinois’ Shawnee National Forest.