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.
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.
6405 109th Avenue
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.
6785 Baseline Rd.
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
Thursday & Friday 10 am – 6 pm
Saturday 9 am-8 pm
Sunday 9 am – 6 pm
Dutch Farm Market
6967 109th Ave.
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.