About the Owners
Dale and Cindy Secher and now Cory Secher
Carandale Farm the longest established pick-your-own farm in Dane County, providing pick-your-own and retail fruits and vegetables to the Dane County area since 1969. At Carandale, we are committed to providing our customers with safe, nutritious produce grown in an environmentally conscientious manner.
Dale and Cindy both grew up on family farms in a time and place where diversity was key to good land stewardship including resource conservation, waste recycling and an overall reverence for nature. Our ideals and values were shaped by the challenges, opportunities for personal growth and the self-sufficiency of the family farm. They both left the farm, got university degrees and embarked on other professional career paths (Cindy in teaching and Dale in engineering.)
The old adage, “you can take the boy out of the country, but you can’t the country out of the boy” was so strong, that in 1968 Dale purchased a rundown dairy farm at the very end of South Fish Hatchery Road. Indeed times had changed, and small to mid-sized family farms were being forced to embrace unsustainable practices for economic survival. Local infrastructure for processing milk, eggs, meat, wool, as well as fruits and vegetables was on the way out. A “cheap food” policy that overlooked social and environmental costs had become well established.
Over the years, cropping systems and marketing continued to change at Carandale Farm. Initial emphasis was dictated by economic survival that required a wide range of vegetables and fruits to spread risk in a pioneering market environment. In the early years, nearly every vegetable was included in the cropping systems, but as the tree fruits matured, management changed to a fruit production emphasis. In recent years, the emphasis has been on researching little known and unusual fruit crops with the goal of helping to re-establish and maintain a regional marketing infrastructure (click on OTHER FRUITS & RESEARCH
for more information.)
Strawberries will always be our passion. We will continue to have pick-your-own and already picked strawberries, as well as Concord grapes, Aronia, Various Pears and plums, and other fruits for our customers at the Dane County Farmer’s Market.
There is a lot of excitement at Carandale Farm right now as Cory Secher, Dale’s youngest son, has decided to partner with his father to continue the legacy of producing locally grown sustainable farm fresh fruits to southern Wisconsin.
Cory grew up on Carandale Farm working for his father and learning the agrarian lifestyle. Cory graduated from UW-Madison with a degree in Forest Conservation Management and began his career in Boulder Colorado as the Boulder District Forester. While in Colorado Cory was trained in Wildland Firefighting, and since has enjoyed a 14 year career as a Wildland Firefighter in both Colorado and Wisconsin. Later he was hired by the Wisconsin DNR Forestry department, where he continued his fire service as well as staffing the South West Wisconsin Incident Management Team.
Cory has always had a passion for the environment, conservation, and sustainable land practices. His passion, experience, and dedication only enhances a long history of good land stewardship and service to the public.
His forestry background and dedication to educational outreach will certainly bring a new energy to the farm experience and we look forward to seeing where he takes the Farm Experience.