With the wettest June on record in the books, area farmers will remember this summer as one that hurt farm production.
But summer rain is now gone and fall has begun, meaning the beginning of candy corn, pumpkin-flavored everything and apple picking.
The latter was in full form Thursday, Oct. 1 at Pick. at Garden Patch Farms, 14154 West 159th St. in Homer Glen.
Tony Ndoca, co-owner of Pick. at Garden Patch Farms, has been pleased with the crowds drawn to the farm this year for apple picking considering the amount of rainfall and its impact on the farm.
“Our customer base really cares about what they eat and they want to know where their food is coming from,“ he said.
Pick. at Garden Patch Farms is home to Chicago’s most diverse and fresh U-Pick farm, according to Ndoca. Each year, visitors can expect more than 100 varieties of fruits and vegetables.
Michelle So, of Homer Glen and president of a local Mommy and Me group, finds great joy seeing the fall weather return and decided it was time for apple picking.
“I love celebrating fall—the apple picking, pumpkin patches, Halloween,” she said.
So was checking out the chicken coupe at Pick. at Garden Patch Farms when she and Anna Lachnitt, her au pair visiting from Germany, and four children started trekking the fields, with a pair strollers in tow, searching for apple trees.
So said she heard about the U-Pick farm through neighbors and a few mothers from a local Mommy and Me group.
She enjoyed her first time picking apples last year and felt compelled to make a return trip to the farm.
“[Jimmy] loves the apples,” So said of her son. “He has been excited for a couple months.“
Lachnitt said she finds that fall as it’s experienced in the states differs from Germany but in a good way.
“They don’t have big farms,” Lachnitt said in describing life in Germany. “Trees aren’t very colorful and the leaves fall off quickly.”
She added that fall isn’t very long in Germany so people don’t get the full experience as they do here in the states.
Apple picking in the states is seen as a popular tradition that people share when fall begins, Lachnitt said.
Ndoca said the fact that Pick. at Garden Patch Farms serves as a U-Pick farm is great in allowing Homer Glen and the surrounding communities to come together and learn how to pick.
The family-owned business first became a U-Pick farm around 2001 seeing increased interest for fresh fruits and vegetables.
He said in the end, he hopes people understand some of the challenges farms face, have fun picking apples and come back for more.
Pick. at Garden Patch Farms has been serving the community nearly 100 years.
For more information on everything the farm has to offer, visit www.pickthefarm.com