When Zehnder’s of Frankenmuth President, Bill Parlberg traveled throughout his Rotary District, Jeff Leipprandt of Pigeon, a fellow Rotary president, often went with him. Little did either of them know that their Rotary relationship would blossom into a business partnership. Zehnder’s Restaurant, a big supporter of the Frankenmuth Farmer’s Market, is committed to purcashing local Michigan products, especially when it comes to agricultural products. So when Zehnder’s began to search for apples, Bill gave his Rotary friend a call. Jeff and his wife Kim run a family apple orchard in Pigeon, a business started by his parents back in 1986.
It’s a second career for each of them, Jeff is a retired Pioneer seed corn salesman and his wife Kim worked for a CPA prior to taking over the orchard. On their ten acre orchard the Leipprandts grow 35 varieties of apples; mostly Paula Reds, Cortlands and Ida Reds. They credit the quality of their apples on the lake effect with mild breezes coming off Lake Huron. The Leipprandts supply Zehnder’s with apples for all their retail bakery products including strudels, pies, pie cookies and caramel apples. That’s about 10 bushels a week.