Living in northern Illinois comes with many perks, and one of them is a front-row seat to the gradual, magical transition from summer to fall. For Kim Kuipers, co-owner of Kuipers Family Farm in Maple Park, this time of year also means opening up her family’s 230-acre farm for all to enjoy.
“We connect people to agriculture and each other,” Kuipers says. “It’s all about coming together as a group and enjoying the wonderful agriculture that the Midwest has to offer.”
Each year, the Kuipers team adds to the farm’s offerings to create a memorable experience for everyone. This year, changes include more bar space, an additional fall flower variety and a new way to tour the property.
The over-21 crowd will especially appreciate the newly expanded bar.
“The adult beverages have become very popular,” Kuipers says. “We’ve always had Kuipers Farm fruit wines and hard ciders on the orchard side of the farm, and we are partnering with Obscurity Brewing again for beer. Last year, they produced an apple cider doughnut beer with us, which was crazy popular. People were waiting around the block at the brewery to get it.”
For more all-ages fun, Kuipers Farm is expected to unveil Daisy’s Cow Train, a new way to experience the farm’s pumpkin patch on weekends.
“Tractor-drawn cars painted black and white will take you around,” Kuipers says. “You can fit two people in each car. It’s a nice, scenic ride.” Each car is designed to accommodate both kids and adults so that the whole family can enjoy the ride together.
Speaking of beautiful scenery, the Sunflower Festival is back again this year. The field, which contains more than 20 sunflower varieties, creates the perfect backdrop for family selfies and Instagram-worthy shots. Kuipers says she’s excited about incorporating more fall flower varieties into the 7-acre garden this season.
“We’ve got a couple of acres of zinnias out there now. So, besides picking sunflowers, you can add those to your bouquet.”
Tickets to enter the festival start around $11 and can be purchased at YouPickFun.com.
This year, guests will also enjoy expanded shopping options on the pumpkin side of the farm.
“We have a lot of yard ornaments and fall decorations in the store,” Kuipers says. “And of course, all the signature products we make here at the farm – like the apple cider doughnuts, our hard ciders, wines, caramel apples and fudge – will also be available in the store.”
All of the usual family-favorite activities are returning this fall, including the Farmview Railway Train, jumping pillow and apple blasters. Also returning this year are the pig races and live musicians on the weekends. Any day of the week, visitors can also ride down the mountain slide, get lost in the corn maze, visit the cute farm animals and climb on the “crazy combine,” just to name a few attractions.
No trip to Kuipers Family Farm would be complete without a stroll through the Orchard Shop.
“We stock the shop with many locally produced items and gifts,” Kuipers says. “You can even order Thanksgiving pies online and pick them up the day before the holiday.”
The Orchard Shop is also the place to go for fresh-picked apples, and the farm grows more than 40 varieties.
During the fall season, which runs until Oct. 31 this year, Kuipers Family Farm is open daily from 9 or 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. The store remains open Thursday through Sunday, with reduced hours from Nov. 2 until the day before Thanksgiving. The best way to get up-to-date information on hours and events is by visiting kuipersfamilyfarm.com.
Kuipers is looking forward to another fall season welcoming families to the farm.
“It’s a great place to come out, stay connected to agriculture and enjoy each other’s company,” she says.