Four generations of the Royal Oak Farm family live and work at Royal Oak Farm Orchard with backgrounds ranging from builders to musicians to booksellers to athletes. All of them have brought their gifts and talents to work for the Lord at the orchard.
When Peter and Gloria Bianchini began the orchard in 1992 as part of their retirement after being in the building business, little did they know what it would turn into. As the orchard grew, their daughter, Renee Norton, with her husband, Dennis, came on to help run the business in 2003. Previously, they owned a Christian bookstore which they sold to join the orchard, and Renee took over the market and bakery while Dennis took over the integrated pest management program, information technology managing, nursery managing and other orchard responsibilities.
Paul Norton, son of Dennis and Renee, also joined the farm with his wife, Meghan, and their six children in 2003. Paul helps to run the orchard as the orchard operations manager, does spraying, fixes machinery, and handles all crop planting.
In 2006, Dennis and Renee’s daughter, Sarah, joined the orchard family to assist as the orchard’s special events coordinator and help with marketing and advertising after she completed her degree in Music Marketing from Taylor University. She also teaches private piano and voice lessons part time. Another new addition was Justin Bell, who began working in in 2007 and handles the accounting, marketing, and advertising. He graduated with a Business Management degree from Taylor University in 2007. He was also the quarterback for Taylor’s football and a pitcher on the baseball team. Justin and Sarah weree married in 2008 and had their first child in 2014.
Away from the farm and on the farm's Board of Directors, Peter and Gloria’s son, Peter, Jr., is chairman of the board for Foundation for His Ministry, which is an organization that runs orphanages in Mexico. He assists with activities at the orphanages and is frequently in Mexico. He and his wife, Debbie, along with their three children, live in Glen Ellyn, IL.
Another large part of the family are Al and Donna Carlson, who travel from Florida every year to assist with the orchard in the fall. Al does much of the artwork and carvings around the orchard, and Donna helps with school tours and décor for our Apple and Pumpkin Fest.
Our Royal Oak Family extends to many of our seasonal employees who come back year after year and add such a tremendous blessing to the orchard. Without them the wonderful experience of Royal Oak would not be possible.