Tuesday, September 18, 2012
One of our favorite apple-picking places is Jonamac Orchard in Malta. It's plenty busy, but far enough from suburban crowds to be more pleasant, in my humble opinion. We love Jonamac because the folks who run it clearly care about their crop and their customers. The staff is always pleasant, the grounds are always tidy, and everything -- from plants to buildings -- are well maintained. This year, timely investment in a frost fan and an irrigation system means they have apples for picking despite this year's odd weather conditions. Aside from picking apples and pumpkins, there's a farm yard full of kids' activities. My children love the enormous jumping pillow, but there's also the "Apple Train" among other activities. It's a small tractor pulling several barrels that have been creatively turned into "cars" on the train. Like everything else at Jonamac, it's adorable and well done.
We have not yet made the trip to Johansen Farms in Bolingbrook, but their promotional materials keep catching my eye, mostly because they, too, offer a train ride among their kids' activities. Others that advertise train rides include the Hootenanny Railroad at Bengtson's in Homer Glen -- this one is a real mini-train that leaves from a cute station -- and the "Pumpkin Mine Kiddie Train" -- a tractor-pulled ride with "train" cars -- at Siegel's Cottonwoood Farm in Crest Hill. So there's always a chance that a fall day at the farm can turn into yet another train trip for the family.