Collins Round Mountain Orchard sold, but still open

CONWAY, Ark. (KTHV) - The future of a Conway classic is in question. Collins Round Mountain Orchard is about to be sold to a development company, and many neighbors are wondering what this means for one of the last you-pick orchards in Central Arkansas.

"I purchased this land in 1985, and planted in 1984, and planted the first trees in 1985," said Dr. Richard Collins, founder of the Orchard.

Ever since the first crop in 1988, Dr. Richard Collins said business at the you-pick orchard has been going strong.

"People thoroughly enjoy coming out and picking for themselves," he said. "You just can't find fresh fruit like this in the stores."

His daughter Marcie Garis now runs the orchard with her husband, but the family has decided to sell it.

"It's the right thing for us at the right time in our life, and it's at the right time as far as the life of the orchard," Garis explained.

Neighbor David Henze has known the Collins Family for years. He says the orchard is a rarity in Faulkner County, so when locals heard about the sale, they panicked.

"I think there was a rumor going around that there was going to be condominiums and apartments and that kind of stuff," said Henze.

But, Marci said that's not the case. Rush-Hal properties plans to build houses on the land similar to those across the street in Cresthaven.

"We actually sold the land, but the orchard is going to continue to be open for several years to come," she added. They will continue to prep for this year's crop. "So everybody can rest easy, the orchard's not closing. We're gonna still be here."

"You know I'd say come out and patronize it while it's still there," suggested Henze.

The family looks forward to its next chapter, but Dr. Collins and Garis will find it hard to say goodbye.

"It'll be a mourning process for my entire family," Henze concluded. "It's a way of life for my family, so it'll be a huge change."

Garis said the company won't start development until September, and even then, they expect it to be a gradual process. Collins Orchard will re-open to the public in June.


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