Fruit & vegetable lovers should visit Fruit Acres
By Annette Christie If it is a fruit or vegetable grown in Michigan that you are looking for, you will find it right at Exit 39 in Coloma at the Fruit Acres Farm Market, 3452 Friday Road. A beautiful array of locally grown products is available throughout the growing season with a sign you will see on many of their selections, “locally grown”.
What began as a 200-acre fruit farm dating back to 1846, has developed into the fifth generation of family farming with different elements of agritourism mixed in. The fruit market began in 1964 when Jim Friday was looking for a new way for his children to raise money for college. The farm was passed down and sold to Annette (Friday) Bjorge in 1983.
Annette and her husband Randy Bjorge continue to grow and breed fruit on 200 acres, and are always improving and expanding the selections they offer. They have a large repertoire of fruit that they grow including sweet cherries, sour cherries, pears, plums, peaches, apricots, and apples. Their fruit market carries fruit from their farm or from their farm friends. When peach season comes around, their own brand of delicious peaches will be available including Earlystar, Coralstar and Autumnstar. The Bjorges are peach breeders and any brand with the word “star” in it is their patent, of which they currently have twelve. As an intern at Michigan State University, Annette worked for a peach breeder and brought home that knowledge to use right here in Southwest Michigan.
The fruit stand opened in early June with strawberries and will run through the end of October with apples and pumpkins. Right now, their shelves carry cantaloupe, watermelon, sweet corn, blueberries, and a very limited supply of apricots. Shoppers will also find a wide variety and quantity of vegetables including squash, sugar snap peas, green beans, zucchini, tomatoes, and a huge selection of peppers. It is open 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily. Fruit Acres also offers frozen fruit, frozen fruit pies, preserves, jams, jellies, honey, sauces and salsas. A nice selection of antique apple crates and mini fruit baskets are on site as well.
In addition to the fruit market, visitors can obtain the hands-on farm experience at the various u-pick options available throughout the growing seasons. Sour cherries and sweet cherries begin in July and are available at 6299 Carmody Road. U-Pick peaches (mid July – September) and apples (September and October) are available at 2789 Friday Road.
Bjorge recommends calling for an update as to what is available. The number to find out about the U-Pick is 269-208-3591. The hours of the U-Pick are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Their website www.fruitacresfarm.com is regularly updated with current information about what is available. Up-to-date information can also be found on their Facebook page for “Fruit Acres Farm Market & U-Pick”.