Mission & History

Our history doesn’t define us; it guides us. With every step taken, we hope to enrich the land and the people on it, leaving an impact that benefits us all for generations to come.

Our Mission

Richard and Laurine Kimmel believed in the land and in sharing what the land produced with their neighbors. Since 1925, apples, cherries and dozens of other fruits and vegetables have been produced in the rolling hills of southeast Nebraska. The Orchard is dedicated to agricultural education research, historic preservation and wholesome family experiences. We take pride in being a destination for fresh, locally-grown produce and other homegrown Nebraska products. A trip to Kimmel Orchards is a fun, educational experience for the whole family as well as an immersive, engaging setting for your next school field trip—just as the Kimmels envisioned.

Our History

Richard Kimmel grew up in Nebraska City and graduated from high school in 1915. He left Nebraska to complete his education, and after serving in World War I, returned to work in banking. In 1925, he established Kimmel Orchard in the rolling hills near Nebraska City and managed Kimmel Farms located a few miles west, which was established in the 1850s by his grandfather, John. Laurine Oetgen also grew up with the Kimmels in Nebraska City as neighbors. She attended the University of Nebraska–Lincoln where she developed a love for art and painting. It was no surprise when she and Richard married shortly after he started the orchard.

Historic Apple Barn

Even as she worked alongside Richard to build Kimmel Orchard, Laurine continued to perfect her painting and gained national recognition for her series of water color paintings titled “American Architecture,” depicting old outhouses. She remained active in the community, painting and working with the orchard until her death in 1993 at the age of 92. The orchard’s establishment marked the beginning of a rich and innovative agricultural tradition in the Nebraska City area. What started as a simple roadside fruit stand grew to be a favorite destination for those seeking a slice of country life in the Missouri River Valley.

Education & Research

In 2005, Kimmel Orchard, in cooperation with the University of Nebraska–Lincoln, built the Kimmel Education and Research Center (KERC) which extends the UNL campus to the heart of Southeast Nebraska. The center houses research facilities, a food laboratory, meeting rooms and office spaces.

Kimmel Orchard History