Written and presented by Lee Schrepel, June 22, 2012
Because transition to our leadership was not always comfortable, Mark and I vowed to approach the shift from “generation three” to “generation four” in a very intentional and thoughtful manner. In 2006, we began to work with a business consultant who proved to be a gifted facilitator relative to family and business culture and communication, planning and transition. Appreciating their on-farm upbringing, the Schrepel family at-large encouraged us to “do what’s right” for us, expressing a desire that the farm remain intact as a legacy to future generations.
Mark’s son-in-law, Brandon, began to under-study Mark in 2005. My daughter, Becky, never really stopped being intimately involved in the processing facility, and her responsibilities grow each year.
In order to better support more families and more highly qualified employees, we have developed a vision and made dreams into reality. We are licensed farm labor contractors and commercial pesticide operators. We have employed people who are capable of helping us do things we have never considered possible. The risk we have undertaken to expand our processing facility to add value to local agricultural products has been considerable. Fruithill can now process several fruits simultaneously and around the clock. The quick-freeze tunnel we installed last year began attracting co-pack interest before installation was complete! It has been an effort beyond “incremental” with hopes for results in “exponential” terms! Recently planted orchards and vineyards are approaching their prime production years. We are expanding our staff at a time when good jobs are hard to find.
With energies of “generation four” being invested on a daily basis, we also see how they commit themselves to serve the community and observe proudly their commitment to family!
We believe the values and traditions that have driven the family farm for generations and nearly 100 years are strong and just as important as ever!
It is exciting to see the enthusiastic and hopeful involvement of our grandchildren. Our wish for “generation five” is to have an opportunity to make a choice to manage the family business and live on a farm. Our legacy is our slogan and our challenge to the Schrepel family: “Quality Fruit for Generations!”