and maize mazes. (See what I did there? Alliteration and a play on words!) In the Awesome Mitten, there is no shortage of great fall places for all of these seasonal treats. In fact, I challenge you to throw one of those ears of colored corn without hitting a terrific farm with awesome autumn activities. On second thought, throwing corn will probably get you in trouble with the law. In any case, many communities have great places to visit for fall activities.
St. Joseph County is no different. In fact, the Nottawa Fruit Farm near Centreville is a hidden gem with good stuff all year long. It offers a farmers market during the summer months (May-October), complete with a petting farm, fresh produce and tasty bakery treats. You could also have a country lunch at Nottawa Fruit Farm for less than $5 and that includes a bag of goat food for the goats at the petting farm.
From the Nottawa Fruit Farm website: Nottawa Fruit Farm is a family-owned business (in the heart of Amish country) which specializes in home-grown produce and family experiences. We take great pride in providing the highest quality products possible in our farm market and wholesome activities which help your family create fond memories. We also want to share our wonderful, peaceful country atmosphere of St. Joseph County with you and your family.
The owners, Don and Eleanor Iott are retired educators, so you know they know all about kids and keeping them entertained as well as educated. They suggest visiting the nearby Nottawa Stone School that replicates the 1870 one-room school setting during Michigan’s early public education years.
Now, to the subject of fall family fun. Beginning in October, Nottawa Fruit Farm goes all out. There are activities for kids like a hayride complete with fun stops along the way. You will find nine activities kids can take part in, like riding mini tractors. (Pedal power, not motorized!) Plus, they get a large pumpkin at the end of the ride. The bonus: accompanying adults don’t have to pay! You can go on a hayride with your child and you don’t have to shell out any more money!
When we went, the kids loved going into the old barn and going through a straw-bale maze. They also enjoyed the craft tables at the end where they painted mini-pumpkins! It’s a great adventure in southwest Michigan. Fall weekends begin the first weekend in October. Don’t forget to stop in the country store for a fresh pie, too.
You can call Nottawa Fruit Farm for more information at 269.467.7719. You can also check out the great website complete with information on community supported agriculture (CSA) packages on their website.
See you at the farm!
Dan Moyle – Fall at the Fruit Farm Fan/Contributing Writer