Celebrating the Harvest in South Haven, Michigan

Hot cider, pumpkin patches, apple picking and hayrides are the hot buttons that make us all think of the Fall harvest. The leaves are turning and creating a colorful backdrop, temperatures are cooler giving us the excuse to start bonfires, and whether or not you believe the spirits are among us, we are evoking earlier times when harvest was a time to celebrate and come together.

South Haven is one of the best areas to keep the harvest tradition alive. A number of area farms are eager to have people come and observe the harvest, do some of their own picking, or hey, even get lost in a corn maze or spooked in a haunted house.

 

DeGrandchamp Farms

www.degrandchamps.com

269-637-3915

Start off the harvest season at this family farm that hales back to 1958. October 12 marks the DeGrandchamp Farms cranberry harvest. One day a year from 10 am to 4 pm, the farm located just south of South Haven opens up their fields so that guests can witness the beauty of harvesting of cranberries in the natural bogs. The cost is $5 for adults and $3 for children. (There are special activities for kids.)

Catch a hayride to the bogs throughout the day to watch as they rake in the bright, red cranberries from the flooded bogs. Then, head to the sorting line to learn about the way they sort and package cranberries for shipping. Cranberry products are available for purchase at the retail market including jams, salsas, dried fruit and baked good. Fresh cranberries are available in October and November; frozen cranberries from December through September.

 

Overhiser Orchards

6405 109th Avenue

www.overhiserorchards.com

269-236-6312

Starting October 1, grab the kids and head to Overhiser Orchards to pick your own pumpkins or apples and explore the farm and its many harvest activities, 10 am to 3 pm every day until the end of October. Available apples for U-pick include Empire, Cortland, Jonamac, Blonde and Gala for $.80 a pound. They also have pre-picked Honeycrisp for $1.89 a pound. Munch on some fresh donuts while you sip cider, pet the farm animals or feed the birds with the farm’s sunflower seed harvest.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Every weekend in October the farm has donuts and cider to enjoy, along with a food truck offering corn dogs, sweet potato fries and smoothies. Take time to get lost in the corn maze or head over the sunflower field for the farm’s new nature walk. Hayrides are available weather permitting. You can also fish in the pond onsite. Corn Maze and wagon ride weekend passes are $7 and includes a free feed cone to feed the animals at the animal barn and a trip out to the U-Pick orchard.

 

Bumbleberry Acres

6785 Baseline Rd.

www.bumbleberryacres.com

269-637-4824

If you’re looking for true October Halloween-like adventures, Bumbleberry Acres goes out of their way to put the scare on. There’s a corn maze with maze games for everyone that wind you through the 10 acres of live corn. You can choose the Farm Scene Treasure Hunt or Farm Scene Investigation or simply go through the 3 mile maze and hit all 12 checkpoints. There are also farm animals to enjoy, pony rides, wagon rides and a corn cannon to please all ages.

And if you’re a bit older and can stay out after dark (this means at least 13), there is the Bumbleberry Acres Haunted Corn Maze, Haunted House and Haunted Trail. The haunts begin October 13th and run to October 31st on Fridays and Saturdays from dusk until 10 pm.

Haunted maze and wagon ride: $12

Haunted House: $10

Haunted House and Haunted Maze: $17

Admission: $9 for adults, Children 5-10 $5, children under 5 free

Hours:

Thursday & Friday 10 am – 6 pm

Saturday 9 am-8 pm

Sunday 9 am – 6 pm

Monday-Wednesday closed

 

Dutch Farm Market

6967 109th Ave.

269-637-8334

www.dutchfarmmarket.com

At the Dutch Farm Market just north of South Haven, apples (Red Delicious, Matsu, Cortland, Yellow Delicious, North Spy, Ida Red and Rome) and Bosc pears are there for the picking, and free wagon rides are available until the end of October. The market store has all the apples and pears, and everything from homemade jams, taffy apples, fresh-pressed cider, honey and maple syrup, to home baked pies, bread, turnovers and donuts, to name just a few. And Sherman’s ice cream, of course.

About the Author

Nancy Backas has been writing, mostly about food, for more than 30 years. South Haven is a favorite place, and she and her husband Terry visit as often as they can. The rich food and art culture, along with opportunities to explore South Haven’s magical natural surroundings is what draws she and her husband to SoHa. She looks forward to sharing her South Haven discoveries. And, while they currently live in Chicago, with moving plans in the works, South Haven will soon be their new home.

World Class Fishing on Lake Michigan

Take a stroll along the Black River in downtown South Haven and you’re likely to encounter the serious fishing boats. If you’re already a fisherman (or fisherwoman), you may know what fishing on the big lake is all about. But if you’re like me, lake fishing invites curiosity and a certain mystique.

I’m not a complete fishing novice. I have experienced the occasional casting from a rowboat or canoe on camping trips, once tried fly fishing in Wyoming and had the distinct pleasure of salmon fishing in Alaska on a rare sunny day where, with a lot of help from a seasoned guide, I caught a 25 pound King Salmon.

Fishing on Lake Michigan, however, is a different experience and fishing with die-hard sports fishermen opens up a whole new world. Chuck Moore and his crew, experienced friends Bill and Kevin, graciously offered to take me out and glimpse their unique world. Moore’s boat is a 33-ft. craft called the Merry More, which he bought 4 years ago and retrofitted for optimum fishing.

We started out at 6:30 am and I was sure to take my Dramamine, though I wasn’t sure I needed it (I did). We headed out of the harbor into open water. It was a cloudy, close to foggy morning, but the lake was smooth. At about 3 miles out, the crew put trolling bags over the side to help with steering and to slow the boat while trolling. One by one, while Chuck steered the boat, Bill and Kevin put fishing lures onto the lines and cast them out, using boards to keep the lures away from the boat until 18 lines were out.

That was my first surprise of the day (that’s a lot of lines)–this is serious fishing. Chuck has radar in the cabin to track where the fish are lurking and steered the boat to optimize its position. The lures they used were called spoons (oblong pieces of metal with a treble hook at one end and a grommet or loop at the other.) The spoons were colorful and, it was explained to me, wobble in the water which attracts the predator fish. The lures have colorful names, too. One used was called Mixed Veggie, another, still in its package and never to be used, was named the O.J. Simpson.

Eventually we were 5 miles out in the lake. It occurred to me that we could have been on an ocean. We couldn’t see the shore and I once again marveled at this amazing body of water I have the privilege to live near which offers, what Chuck calls, “world class fishing”.

I confess, despite the Dramamine, I still became a bit queasy. I was told not to go below deck, to stand in the middle of the boat and look at the horizon. It helped. So did being called to land a fish. We hooked one and I was brought to the stern to bring it in. I began reeling it in and then a yellow devise called a rod butt cushion was placed on the butt of the fishing pole so that I could position it in my belly button and give myself some leverage without severely bruising myself. It took a bit of arm strength and I didn’t embarrass myself. The guys were good at giving instruction and I managed to bring the fish in so that they could net it and land it on board. It was a beautiful lake trout.

I let my husband, along for the fun, land the other three we brought in—two king salmon and a steelhead, all three larger than my lake trout. We headed back to the harbor, sooner I know than the guys would have liked. We watched them process the four large fish in about 15 minutes and we bid them farewell. They were headed back out. It was a good fishing day, and they weren’t about to let the day go to waste.

If you are looking for your own world class fishing experience on Lake Michigan, South Haven has a number of charter fishing companies who are eager to help. Here’s a resource to get you started on your fishing adventure: https://www.southhaven.org/experience/fishing-and-hunting

About the Author

Nancy Backas has been writing, mostly about food, for more than 30 years. South Haven is a favorite place, and she and her husband Terry visit as often as they can. The rich food and art culture, along with opportunities to explore South Haven’s magical natural surroundings is what draws she and her husband to SoHa. She looks forward to sharing her South Haven discoveries. And, while they currently live in Chicago, with moving plans in the works, South Haven will soon be their new home.

Fun at Full Sail Onboard Friends Good Will

The ropes are untied and the boat embarks. You slowly steer through the Black River channel and into the blue sprawl of Lake Michigan, which reflects the diamond chips cast by the sun.

Once you’re on the lake, the strengthening air begins to cool: You pull on a sweatshirt. Crew members dressed as 1800s merchant seamen begin to move on the deck. One asks you to help him.

You join in raising a sail, which billows and cracks as you face the horizon. The wind whips your hair and the beaches of South Haven grow smaller behind you.

You cruise and float with your fellow passengers until the sky begins to dim and splash the coming night with celestial paint. You gaze out at the South Haven sunset, a blazing ball of copper that drops slowly like an eyelid at bedtime.

And somewhere, deeper within it all, you sense the spirit of an American era.

You’re at the pinnacle of South Haven sailing.

Built entirely of wood (mainly Douglas fir) in 2004, the boat on which you stand is an exact replica of Friends Good Will made specifically for the Michigan Maritime Museum in South Haven. If you lose yourself in the moment, you might even imagine what it was like to be on the deck of the vessel during her early 19th century voyages.

The original Friends Good Will was built in 1810 at River Rouge in Michigan by Oliver Williams, who owned a dry-goods store in Fort Detroit (now within Detroit city limits).

Williams sold everything from hammers to cut trees for houses to candles and barrels of whiskey. Before building Friends Good Will, the only way he could get the goods to his store was to buy them in Buffalo, New York, about 260 miles away on the far east side of Lake Erie. Once loaded on wagons, the goods would make a horse-drawn trek back to the fort, which could take from four to six weeks depending on the weather.

Determined to be more efficient, Williams built the ship so the goods could be acquired by traveling down the Detroit River and straight across Lake Erie. When sailing in good wind, the ship would trim the Buffalo trip from several weeks to two or three days.

In summer 1811, soon after Friends Good Will’s initial launch, Williams’ business was profitable. Just two round trips with the ship could stock his store for more than a year.

In fall 1811, Williams entered a contract with the U.S. government. Friends Good Will would transport soldiers, materials and military supplies including guns and gunpowder first up Lake Huron to Fort Mackinac (now part of Mackinac Island) and then down to Fort Dearborn in what is now Chicago.

When Friends Good Will was making one such voyage to Fort Mackinac in summer 1812, Williams was not yet aware that the U.S. and Britain were at war. The British, who had taken Mackinac Island just days before, lured the ship into the harbor near the fort by flying false colors above the ramparts. They seized the boat and its cargo and crew and renamed it HMS Little Belt, an insult at that time. The British then armed the vessel and added it to the Royal Navy for battle against the U.S.

In September 1813, U.S. Commodore Oliver Perry recaptured the ship at the Battle of Lake Erie and kept the name Little Belt as a snub to the British. He also did not return the boat to Oliver Williams; rather, he put it into service for the American Great Lakes navy, which used it to ferry military cargo and ammunition.

In December, the ship was driven ashore by a storm just south of Buffalo. The crew unloaded it and went up to the city. Later that month, a British raiding party entered Buffalo and burned it down, including the boat.

Thanks to South Haven’s Michigan Maritime Museum, Friends Good Will lives on through day sails, school field trips and educational tours. Schedule your ride today for an exhilarating Lake Michigan journey guided by the ghosts of history.

Discover more about the museum’s other inspiring boat rides as well!

Friends Good Will
Michigan Maritime Museum
260 Dyckman Ave., South Haven, MI 49090
(269) 637-8078 / www.michiganmaritimemuseum.org

 

About the Author

A creative writer for many years, Jon Davis (eloquentarrow.com) paints pictures with his words and captivates readers with distinctive language. He now shares his love for South Haven with us, writing about the experiences you can have only in the Haven. Jon resides in Oswego, IL, with his wife, Kristie, and two daughters. They visit South Haven often to take in the scenic beauty and spend meaningful time as a family.

 

Find Your Sensory Feast at the South Haven Farm Market

Farm-to-table produce and meat. Freshly picked berries and nuts. All-natural Amish cheese. Herbs and spices. Artisan woodwork. Whimsical jewelry. Candles and soaps. Leather wraps.

You’re not in the middle of an exotic bazaar – you’re among the 80 vendors at the South Haven Farm Market at the Huron St. Pavilion, an annual highlight of downtown South Haven.

A point of interest in South Haven for many years, the market connects regional producers and artists with people from all over for a celebration of original food, beauty and creativity.

The Delight of Diversity

The joy and success of downtown South Haven’s farm market reside in its variety.

Farm Manager Harold Stanton of Stanton Farm of Gobles, Michigan, has been selling his farm-raised, non-GMO beef, chicken and pork at the market for eight years.

“For us, being at the market is like going to an event,” he said. “We really enjoy the customers, the personal aspect and the South Haven atmosphere. People there ask a lot of questions because they care about where their food comes from. They like being able to speak to the farmer and know how the animals are raised and fed.

“The market is also a meaningful extension of our farm’s livelihood. It represents about 20 percent of our sales.”

Stokes’ Blueberry Farm & Nursery has been participating in the market for the past six years. The farm and nursery

specializes in blueberries but also offers asparagus; dark sweet, Rainier and sour cherries; peaches; apple varieties such as Gala, Red Delicious and Jonagold’s; and jarred jams, jellies, preserves and pickled asparagus.

“As a first-generation family farm, we take pride in our Michigan farm land and feel blessed and honored to be providing locally grown produce alongside other hard-working Michigan farmers,” said Jamie Stokes-Glowacki, the farm and nursery’s office administrator.

“We enjoy being able to interact with market visitors and answer their questions about how we grow and care for our crops. We believe the power to obtain safe and healthy foods needs to be with consumers. A local farmers market lets them purchase fruits and veggies that are truly ‘in season’ from trusted local sources.

“The South Haven Farm Market is a great way to bring the community together and support local business, all within walking distance of beautiful Lake Michigan. It doesn’t get any better than that.”

The Honduran family–owned Patas de Pluma (Michigan City, Indiana) offers a variety of handmade artisan carvings (e.g. bowls, jewelry boxes, wall art, statuettes), as well as hammock chairs. In 2019 they are also adding Mayan woven cloths and purses, Garifuna shell jewelry and some handmade pottery items.

Born and raised in Honduras, Roberto Enamorado is in charge of Patas de Pluma’s products and sales. He has found great value and appeal in the market since joining in 2018.

“The South Haven Farm Market brings together beautiful summer days, interesting people and great food all in one place,” he said. “It’s also conveniently located for those who come to enjoy Lake Michigan’s coastline.”

The market has been a boon for business as well.

“I love to talk to people about my home country of Honduras and the wealth of its talent and the resourcefulness of its people,” Roberto said. “The response to what we offer has been overwhelmingly positive. Many people say they have never seen anything like our products before.”

For even more insight into the vendors’ diversity, view the complete listing.

Make Your Plans for the Market

Whether you’re here for fun in the sun, dining, fishing, shopping or trips out on the lake, the South Haven Farm Market adds excitement and culture to your stay. The market welcomes visitors 8am–2pm on Saturdays May–October as well as on Wednesdays June–August.

For more information, call (269) 206-0324 or visit www.southhavenfarmmarket.com.

While many market vendors accept credit cards, some do not; carrying some cash is recommended.

 

About the Author

A creative writer for many years, Jon Davis (eloquentarrow.com) paints pictures with his words and captivates readers with distinctive language. He now shares his love for South Haven with us, writing about the experiences you can have only in the Haven. Jon resides in Oswego, IL, with his wife, Kristie, and two daughters. They visit South Haven often to take in the scenic beauty and spend meaningful time as a family.

 

Early Industry and Community Beginnings in South Haven, Michigan

Businesses First Saw Mill Built By C P Ludwig Circa 1850's

South Haven is a vacation destination with a rich history of progress and expansion, making it one of the favorite stops on the West Michigan Pike by adventure-seeking travelers. Industrial innovations and circumstances have shaped the area over time, leading to the charming city we know today. 2019 marks one hundred and fifty years since the incorporation of South Haven as a town. Throughout the year the city will celebrate this achievement and past historic accomplishments. South Haven has continued to build since its first settlers in 1833, both in size and reputation. Behind the quaint storefronts and glistening beaches of this destination town is a story of a community who has efforted toward expansion and prosperity, beginning with the lumber industry and progressing with the changing pace of time. The citizens of South Haven in the 1800’s were not only a community of hard workers, but a community who engaged in celebrations, political meetings, church services, and more. Much like our own communities today.

In 1833, the first white settler arrived and made the area his home. Judge Jay R. Monroe was granted a land patent from the U.S. government for sixty-five acres of land along the Lake Michigan Shore. He is believed to have built the first house, a double log cabin, located at the mouth of the Black River. While later relocating to nearby Lawrence, Monroe recognized the potential of the area. Settlers slowly began seeing this potential as well, especially after roads were established from South Haven to the Kalamazoo area and Paw Paw around 1835.

The industry that provided a means of expansion at the beginning of settlement was lumber, which was an achievable business with the available water sources in the area. In 1850 the first steam saw mill was built with one upright saw on the bank of the Black River. Two years later another saw mill was built, and more followed. Saw mills allowed for expansion in multiple ways. Jobs were made available as labor was required to operate the mills and the area was being cleared, providing spaces for buildings. These structures were soon used for housing and businesses, and the town of South Haven began to grow and shape. That same year in 1852, the village was platted, and the first one-room schoolhouse and post office were constructed. The first hotel was built one year later and served an equally important role for the developing town.

South Haven’s first hotel was originally named the Forest House, and later changed to the National House, and then the Pacific House after new ownership. In 1852 the population was estimated to be two hundred people, with around half of that number residing in the Forest House. The structure was three stories high, with the third floor serving as a full-length ballroom. The ballroom was the hub for social gatherings, political meetings, and religious services. Through the years of service, name changes, business changes, and even relocation, the Forest House still stands today as South Haven’s oldest building, located at 313 Center Street.

The construction of the Forest House hotel would not have been as possible without the presence of sawmills, and sawmills were the first of many industries to inhabit the area. The result was the development of the town. South Haven has seen growth every year since 1833, with buildings, population, businesses, and organizations. The Forest House is representative of the changing tides in South Haven as it has progressed through time. The hotel’s beginnings were rooted in community, as it was used for housing, renting, entertaining and conducting business. These same aspects are what keep South Haven afloat today, serving as both a permanent residence and a vacation retreat. Over the course of the present year I will be taking readers through this popular city’s timeline and exploring the unique aspects that have made South Haven what it is today; A haven, for the community and its visitors alike.

Photographs courtesy of the Historical Association of South Haven

About the Author

Amanda Owens is a resident of South Haven, MI and is the Guest Services and Social Media Coordinator for the South Haven Convention and Visitors Bureau. She is a recent graduate of Western Michigan University with a bachelor’s degree in Public History, and is delighted to help visitors with their trips to the beautiful city of South Haven.