BELLEVILLE, Ill. — Eckert’s Family Farms is kicking off a new series of live summer concerts at Cider Shed, which opened Friday.  

The first of the “Shows in the Shed” concert series will feature singer Matt Stell, who is set to perform at 7:00 p.m. Friday, June 10.

“It’s kind of been several years in the thought process, and now it’s here. We’re so super excited. We pushed hard to get this day to get it open for Matt Stell’s concert tonight,” said Jill Tantillo, the vice president of food service at Eckert’s. 

While “Shows in the Shed” is a paid concert series, Eckert’s will host free entertainment events Thursday through Sunday nights.

“This year, Friday nights are going to be paid concerts — so a little bit bigger names and different kinds of bands. We have all different things from an 80s band and Elvis,” Tantillo said. “The other days will be free.”

As for the cider, they rolled that out last May. It was such a big hit they couldn’t keep up with the demand. 

“We started with four flavors. Apple, strawberry, peach, and blackberry. Our four seasons, our main four seasons,” said Tantillo. “We never could keep it in stock. We never had all four flavors at the same time. We worked hard over the winter to try to get stocked up. A better forecast on how much we needed.” 

Their first customer today, Belleville resident Melissa Wilkerson, enjoyed her afternoon out with friends. 

“Oh, this is great. You can enjoy the outdoors and visit with friends. Just have a wonderful afternoon, Wilkerson said. “I liked the apple, and I like the blackberry. So they were very good.” 

Eckert’s is also gearing up for blackberry season, which starts next weekend. Strawberry season just ended. Peaches should start around July 4 but could be slightly delayed since it’s been relatively cool. 

“We were hoping it would be by July 4, but it might be a couple days after that. But it’ll be close. Next week, when it’s 98, I always say peaches love 100-degree temperatures. So it’s just for the peaches,” Tantillo said. 

But a trip to Eckert’s this summer will certainly be extra fun for the whole family. 

“Maybe the kids get some custard and mom and dad get a hard cider to enjoy while just sitting in a shaded area and protected from the elements a little bit,” said Tantillo. 

For more information or to purchase tickets, visit https://eckerts.com/