Our Orchard’s History

The story of Ski-Hi Fruit Farm dates all the way back to 1907 when a young, aspiring farmer named Arthur Kamp Bassett (known as A.K. to his friends) bought the property from German immigrant John Weidenkopf.

Mr. Weidenkopf had received the property from the federal government as a land grant for his service in the Mexican-American War. His original cabin from 1862 still stands on the property and can be visited by our guests.

Weidenkopf - Basset Cabin

Sauk County Historical Site Plaque

His undestanding that the rocky soil prevented traditional farming of row crops, A.K. decided to try his hand at growing tree fruit. The early years were tough. The large deer population ate many of the young apple trees, swarms of grasshoppers defoliated the planting, and the harsh winters took their toll on any remaining trees.

Undeterred, A.K. attended classes at the University of Wisconsin Madison to acquaint himself with the best varieties to grow for this particular area. With this education and perseverance, the orchard finally grew.

Soon, his farm was flourishing, as was his family. A.K. was blessed with three children and his son, Arthur Kamp Bassett, Jr. (Art) eventually took over responsibility of the farm from his father with the help of his wife, Olga. Under Art’s guidance, the farm grew to over 500 acres of which 80 was in orchard production. Art was known as an exceptional orchardist and grew over 90 varieties of apples.

A. K. Bassett Sign

Today, the orchard has been in continuous production for over 100 years and is run by his daughter Betty. While the times have changed, the Bassett family and Ski-Hi is still running strong.

Inside the Historical Cabin

Cabin Furniture

Cabin Main Room

Cabin Kitchen