FILER — Robin Kelley Rausch and Gretchen Kelley Bietz of Filer received a Century Farm Award on Friday. The award honors and recognizes families that have continuously owned and actively farmed the same land their ancestors did 100 years ago or more.
At a Friday ceremony, the family was given a Century Farm sign and certificate signed by Governor Brad Little, executive director of the Idaho State Historical Society Janet L. Gallimore and director of the Department of Agriculture Celia Gould.
In 1908, John S. Gourley — great-grandfather of Rausch and Bietz — obtained 78.2 acres in Filer from the state of Idaho through the Carey Act. In the early days, Gourley raised chickens, milk cows, fruit and melons on the land. Today the property is owned and operated by the Kelley Girls — daughters of Richard Kelley, deceased, and Susan Kelley Harbke of Twin Falls. The orchard continues to harvest and sell a variety of stone fruit-cherries, apricots, peaches, nectarines, plums and apples, and has been a family affair for almost five generations.
As from the beginning, the orchard continues to host visitors at the seasonal fruit stand to pick their own fruit or enjoy already-picked produce. Guests are also welcomed to stay at one of the historic orchard homes as a retreat in the canyon.
Since the Century Farm/Ranch program began in 1990, more than 400 farms and ranches statewide have been designated Idaho Century Farms or Ranches by the Idaho State Historical Society and the Idaho Department of Agriculture. The program recognizes a farm or ranch owned and operated in Idaho by the same family for at least 100 years with at least 40 acres of the original parcel of land still maintained as part of the present holding.
For more information, call Robin Kelley at 208-850-0027.