Farm Markets in the Tri-City Area offer picks of the crop
By Christina Gelder The Berrien and Van Buren County areas have always been well known for their abundant produce. A vast cornucopia of fresh fruits and vegetables can be readily found throughout the growing season. The landscape of options is changing slightly this year as things shift for some of the favorite growers in the area but there are still plenty of opportunities to enjoy the fresh treats. One area favorite, Big Dan’s U-Pick’Em, has closed after many years. Owners Dan and Margo Klug have retired and have shut down their operation. Many families will miss the fun traditions built there over the years but other options are still available for picking, hayrides, cider and more.
FRUIT ACRES Fruit Acres is a Coloma staple. Right off of the I-94 exit at Friday Road, the fruit market owned by Randy and Annette Bjorge is always packed with beautiful and delicious produce. If it is not something they grow themselves, they source it from other area farmers.
FRUIT ACRES… Randy and Annette Bjorge stand on their property in front of a blooming apple tree. The couple is happy to announce that their market, Fruit Acres, will be opening on June 15 for a season full of delicious local produce. (TCR photo by Christina Gelder)
According to Annette they plan to open this year on Saturday, June 15 with sweet Michigan strawberries. They will then continue with all the fruits as they ripen and come into season. Peaches will be for sale at the market but unfortunately will not be available for u-pic. Due to the bitterly cold winter temperatures peaches should be a hot commodity this summer. Bjorges are grateful to still have a growing crop. U-pic will be available for sweet and tart cherries starting in late June. Apples will also be available as usual for picking after Labor Day. Picking updates and contact information can be found on Facebook and at www.fruitacresfarms.com.
JOLLAY ORCHARDS Right down the road from Fruit Acres is Jollay Orchards. They are making some changes and owner Jay Jollay says that new and exciting things are in store for the popular family destination. According to Jollay they are refocusing on their core – cherries, peaches, apples and donuts. The family decided to close their fun market right off of exit 39 in Coloma this past winter but assured the public that the orchard itself, which is south on Friday Road, would open as usual in the late spring. They will feature picking, picnic areas, hayrides in the fall, and a great playground area for families to enjoy on their farm adventures. The former market will be taken over by the Moersch family who owns Round Barn Winery. They are working with Jollays to lease the space as a tasting room, which is sure to be a big hit for those on wine tours in the north Berrien County area. Look for that to open at the beginning of summer as well. It is worth noting that the dinosaur sculptures hanging out next to the former market will remain and visitors are welcome to continue to enjoy them. Whether they bring a picnic or just want a prehistoric selfie, the herd is happy to oblige. Jollay Orchards can also be found online on Facebook or at www.jollayorchards.com.
JW MORLOCK & GIRLS JW Morlock & Girls are already rocking and rolling with fresh asparagus. Morlocks run their stand north of Watervliet on M-140 all summer and they proudly boast of growing everything they sell. That in itself is a feat because they sell a wide variety of fruits and vegetables. Housed within the Morlock’s stand is Mo’e Pies, a bakery specializing in pies made with fresh local fruit. A homemade treat paired with local ice cream to help keep customers cool and happy in the summer heat. For produce updates and event announcements throughout the season JW Morlock & Girls and Mo’e Pies LLC can both be found on Facebook.
BOB’S FARM MARKET & BAKERY Bob’s Farm Market & Bakery on Coloma Road between Coloma and Riverside is also open for the season. They opened in April, just in time for Easter pie orders. The crew at Bob’s Barn can not only boast of wonderful local produce throughout the season but a wide array of specialty food items in their charming store. The bakery has expanded in the last couple years and has become a great place to stop and get a tasty treat or filling lunch. Don and Ashleigh Heidelberg are the proud owners of the market as Ashleigh is the third generation to welcome people to the spot they call home in the Coloma countryside. More information can be found on Facebook or at www.bobsbarnfarmmarketandbakery.com. Though spring, with its gorgeous blooms, is an amazing time to enjoy the area it will only get better and the crops ripen and farmers welcome everyone to share in the bounty.