Member Categories: Farm Stand, Farm, U-Pick, and Wholesale SalesMember Tags: apples, apricots, carrots, cucumbers, eggplant, peaches, pears, pumpkins, summer squash, tomatoes, and zucchini
Surprised to see such succulent produce grown in the desert? Thanks to the Gilcrease Family and natural artesian springs, this unique piece of land has been preserved for over 90 years for the community to enjoy.
It all began in 1920 with the arrival of Elda and Leonard Gilcrease and their two sons John Theodore and William Orr. Ted was just a youngster of four and Bill, a baby less than a year old.
Leonard came from a farm family, having been raised at the Gilcrease Ranch in Lemoore, California. He met Elda at the University of Nevada, Reno, where they both graduated with bachelors degrees. After marrying and starting their family, they decided to purchase over 900 acres in the Las Vegas Valley that included natural artisan springs, known as the Lower Tule Springs, for cultivating crops and raising livestock.
Over the years, the Gilcrease Ranch raised chickens and turkeys and sold to the townsfolk and the military base close by. They grew assorted crops including alfalfa and eventually owned more than 1,500 acres of land, cultivating about 200 acres.
Their son Ted showed the greater interest in farming and took over the management of the ranch and land holdings while Bill pursued his interest in art and birds. Nevertheless, they both contributed time and land for the development of the orchard during the 1970s. For over twenty-five years, valley residents enjoyed 100 acres devoted to what Ted called his “pick and pay” orchard.
Recognizing his age and poor health were diminishing his ability to run the orchard, Ted decided he needed to protect the orchard in perpetuity. In 1997 with Bill’s support, he established the nonprofit Gilcrease Orchard Foundation governed by a Board of Trustees.
It was Ted and Bill’s dream that the Gilcrease Orchard would be a place where families could bring their children and enjoy a sampling of the kind of life the brothers knew. They wanted to preserve this unique gem where the community can pick food fresh off the tree or vine and see, feel, and taste the difference. Through their nonprofit foundation, they aimed to provide recreational and educational experiences that teach children where our food comes from and how it is grown, helping to foster an appreciation for the earth’s bounty and a healthy lifestyle.
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