So often, working at the farmstand we are asked about the history of the farm and our family.
The Keller family originated in Bavaria, Germany. In the mid-1800's, they made the trek to America. Land was purchased along River Road in northern Naperville. Farming started around 1852. The first Frank Keller grew up on that River Road farm. During hard times, he worked as a cashier at The Naperville Bank and then returned to farming on a new farm along Ogden Avenue in unincorporated Naperville.
Frank Jr. was born in 1911 and farmed with his father. The farm on Ogden Avenue was primarily a dairy operation, but a wide variety of crops were raised including grapes, raspberries, and five acres of potatoes. These homegrown crops got our family through The Great Depression. There was a table by the road where they sold produce to passersby. Technically it was the first "Kellers Farmstand"!
In 1966, Frank Jr. sold the Ogden Avenue farm and purchased a larger farm on 95th Street (now Knoch Knolls Road) in southern Naperville. He retired from farming at that time, allowing his two sons, Frank III and Ray, to raise corn, soybeans, oats, hay, and cattle. The dairying was discontinued.
During the mid-1980's, with more and more rentable acres disappearing, a large portion of the farm was traded for more farmable land in Plainfield, Illinois. In the late 1990's, farm land was acquired in Oswego to make up for the loss of land in Naperville.
Currently corn, soybeans, oats, and hay are still raised in Plainfield and Oswego. Since 1991, vegetables have entered the mix with Frank IV opening his first vegetable stand in Naperville. A second vegetable stand was opened on the Plainfield farm in 1993.
We now have a third farmstand on our Oswego farm. The Oswego location is where we have our activities on Fall weekends: pumpkin patch, Corn Maze, wagon rides, and petting farm. We have planted 1200 apple trees with the hope of having Pick-your-own apples in a few years. Other plants planted for the future are cherry trees, pear trees, and wine grapes. In the Fall of 2008, we began having school tours come out to the farm. We hope to expand this program in the years to come.