BELLEVILLE, Ill. — Something is growing at Eckert's and it's not just the apples. During the first week of November, a frosty blanket covered the Belleville farm's orchards.
"It was cold," Angie Eckert told 5 On Your Side.
Frost and freeze signals the end of the growing season and the timing of this week's weather could not have been better for Bi-state growers.
"This would be a different story if it was Oct. 1, but we are happy with the timing and it allows plants to start shutting down before the really cold temperatures set in," Eckert said.
While the orchards will go dormant for winter, Eckert's is not done growing. The Belleville property — which includes a country store, seasonal custard stand, nursery and restaurant — is expanding.
"It entails adding a cider tasting room. It will be mostly hard ciders, but there will also be some sweet ciders," Eckert explained. "And an outdoor dining space and entertainment space."
The new construction will not require any orchards to be pulled out. The new space is going between the store and the custard stand, an area that is already paved.
The outdoor, but covered space, is what Eckert is most excited about.
"I think we all just became more accustomed to outdoor dining over the past couple of years," she said, adding that it feels like the next step for Eckert's of Belleville is to have a more comfortable outdoor space for visitors to enjoy.
If all goes according to plan, the Belleville Eckert's hopes to open the new space in May 2022.