The Nichols Farm & Orchard story began in 1978 with Lloyd and Doreen Nichols’ backyard garden. Lloyd had always loved to garden, and with visions of becoming self sustained the family moved from Lombard and the backyard garden, to their first 10 acre parcel in Marengo, IL. They bought animals, made butter and cheese, cultivated 4 of the acres, and planted a small orchard. The yield was much more than Lloyd and the family needed, so he began selling the vegetables out of the back of his truck and became a vendor at the Evanston Farmers Market.
Over 30 years later, Lloyd still considers himself a market gardener and attributes the vast variety of fruits and vegetables the farm cultivates to that gardener’s spirit and love for variety. The farm still sells their bounty at the Evanston Market, but in the years since the late 70’s the number of markets has grown to 12-14 in any given year, and countless restaurants and CSA customers.
Today, Lloyd’s sons and grandchildren work and live on the farm carrying on the spirit and love for the land for future generations of market customers and chefs. The farm grows over 1,000 different fruits and vegetables with over 200 varieties of apples alone. Every year brings a new variety and discovery for the farm and the loyal customers, and Lloyd and the family hope to do so for many more years to come.