Fun on the FarmNo matter the season, area farms offer shopping, recreation and fun
We’re headed into the season of travel and day trips as mother nature brings on the sunshine and puts the snowflakes and harsh temperatures to bed for a few months. Agritourism plays a big part in those spring, summer and fall experiences where families can visit area farms to make lasting memories.
Cook County has a number of farms that you can visit for a variety of different reasons- from picking out your spring plantings to goat yoga to hayrides through the pumpkin patch.
At Big John’s Farm Market & Greenhouse in Chicago Heights, you can stop in throughout the coming months for your flowers and produce. “In April we start with flowering plants, hanging baskets and vegetable plants and that will follow with homegrown produce and Michigan fruit and in the fall, you can buy your mums and pumpkins,” said co-owner Kevin DeBoer.
Bultema’s Farm in Lynwood has a market, but also is a U-pick farm, so a visit can become a fun family outing. Fields fill up with pickles, tomatoes, cucumbers, okra, eggplant and several varieties of peppers, greens and beans that you can select and pick at peak ripeness.
“We’re a third-generation U-pick farm of about a hundred acres. A lot of families come to pick ingredients for their native dishes and can them to have on-hand in the off-season,” said Dan Bultema, co-owner. “We also have a reputation for sweet corn and watermelons and have sold 1,000 dozen sweet corn on a given Saturday and up to 10 bins of watermelons.”
Deer Creek Farm in Glenwood is a 26-acre farm where kids can interact with goats, the family can take goat hikes, and everyone can goat yoga. The petting zoo is typically open weekends and is $5 for ages 4 and up. The farm also offers fresh chicken and duck and local honey. “We’re also hoping to start U-pick flowers this year,” said JoAnn Shults, who owns the farm with her husband, Wally. “Come out and spend some time being out in nature. It’s good for your health and well-being.”
Historic Wagner Farm in Glenview is one of the last working dairy farms in Cook County with several interactive and educational elements for kids and adults to learn about agriculture in the past and present. The Heritage Center offers interactive exhibits and historical displays and has a two-story silo kids can enter. A new Farm Adventure Area is coming later this year with a corn crib, digging sandbox and interactive life-size dairy cow sculpture.
No fall season is complete without a farm visit to Goebbert’s Farm & Garden Center in South Barrington for their fall festival in September and October. Families can watch pig races, see the Pumpkin Eating Dinosaur, and enjoy seasonal treats. Happy Jack, an 18x, 15-foot fiberglass pumpkin sits atop a silo to welcome visitors.
Puckerville Farms in Lemont is another fall attraction with pumpkins and more that also operates a Christmas tree farm.
From one season to the next, keep the farms of Cook County in mind for an outing, whether you’re looking for a relaxing shopping trip for spring blooms or a lively outdoor fall day with active grandkids.
Some other area farms to visit
A-Ranch 394, Chicago Heights (horseback rides, trail rides, onsite pony parties)
The Children’s Farm at The Center, Palos Park (educational children’s farm, hayrides, animals)
Delair’s Corn Stalk Farm, Orland Park (pumpkins patch, haunted corn maze, craft barn)
Forest View Farms, Tinley Park (hayrides, trail rides, birthday parties, petting zoo)
Carrie Steinweg is a freelance writer, author, blogger and photographer living in Chicago’s south suburbs with her husband and five Her work has appeared in dozens of print and online publications and she is the author of seven books. A passionate foodie, Carrie thoroughly enjoys traveling and visiting new restaurants and craft breweries, attending food festivals and trying out new recipes and kitchen gadgets. She writes about her food experiences at ChicagoFoodieSisters.com.