Garden Patch Farms

Garden Patch Farmswebsite
Today I’m welcoming our very first guest poster, Mary Whalen! Mary is a mom with two daughters (2 1/2 and 5) and a husband of 8 years. Before her job as mommy, Mary was a technical writer and instructional designer. She now has a website for moms who live in the Northwest Suburbs of Chicago.
You can reach Mary by visiting her website, ArlingtonHeightsMoms.com.
About 35 minutes south of Woodfield Mall (Schaumburg) about a half mile east of 355.
Phone: 708-301-7720
Hours:
Open April 16 Thru December
Mon-Sat, 8 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Sundays, 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Admission: $5 per person over 3 years old (you then pay per pound for fruit/vegetables)
Parking: The farm has a large gravel lot that fits 40 or so cars.
Bathrooms: There are no bathrooms…just two Port-a-Pottys that have hand sanitizer dispensers at adult height.  There are no changing tables.
Designated nursing/breastfeeding area: There is no designated nursing area.
Handicapped/stoller accessible: We took our in-line double stroller through the fields and through the shop.  It was a bumpy (and a little dusty) ride through the fields, but very manageable. 
Amenities: The Garden Patch Farms shop has and a few gift items including jarred salsa and jams/jellies.
Food: There are ready-picked fruits and vegetables, juice, water, and soda, snacks like chips, nuts, granola bars, and candy available for purchase, but meal-type food is not. There are several picnic tables in a shaded area.
Special events:

At fall harvest time, Garden Patch puts up hay bales and all sorts of fall decorations. In addition to pumpkin and apple picking, there is a large bounce house for kids.

Activities:
We spent most of our time at the farm picking fruit and veges. For fruit, the kids weren’t interested in picking blackberries (a popular pick), but we did get a few raspberries, a couple early variety apples, and a couple peaches. For veges, we got some zucchini, different types of peppers, and cherry and regular tomatoes. I was a little nervous taking the kids to pick the cherry tomatoes, because they grow so near the ground, but the girls were pretty careful not to stomp on the tomatoes. 
The most fun we had was picking green beans.  They were very easy for the kids to reach, and there wasn’t an issue with trying to get the girls to pick ripe ones.
Along the way we watched the horses at the neighboring farm, talked about the greenhouse-like buildings where they were growing things, saw butterflies among the plants, and looked at the beautiful flowers.  We did spend a little time, too, looking at gift items in the shop.
When we paid for our “harvest,” the cashier offered the kids some feed corn and sent us to the chicken barn to feed the chickens.  The corn is still on the cob, and the kids took a while pulling the kernels off then tossing them to the chickens.
Cost: Outside of the field charge, your cost depends on how much stuff you pick and buy. Prices on vegetables ranged from 50 cents per pound (for cabbage) to $3.50 per pound (specialty peppers). Most veges were $1.50 per pound. Raspberries were $5.00 per pound, and apples were $1.50 per pound. 
Our experience:
My husband and I were excited to find about Garden Patch Farms, a u-pick farm in Homer Glen, Illinois. We were happy to find a u-pick so close to the Northwest Suburbs and had a morning full of fun there last weekend picking 
fruit and vegetables with our two young daughters.
Overall, our visit to the farm was a wonderful experience. 
If you are wanting to pick a particular fruit or vege, take the time to call or email before you head down there.  Though there is a ripening calendar on the farm website, things might be picked over when you go. We had hoped to pick raspberries, for example, but we found out that there are specific days of the week when the most are available. 
Before we went out to pick, a woman in the shop showed us an aerial photo of the farm and explained where each fruit/vege was. I wish that I would have made a note about which root vegetables were where…it was a little tough to tell where carrots and onions were, since they are underground. I also wish that we would have had a spade or other tool with us to dig. The farm usually keeps a pitch fork around that the kids love, but we didn’t see it around (I suggest bringing your own).
Have you visited Garden Patch Farms? Or do you have a “U-Pick” place you love? Any tips for other parents that may want to visit one?

Comments

  1. Visiting small farms are always so much fun with kids! I love your Chicago insights & had a nice visit today!

  2. Janet Podczerwinski says:

    I’m a little confused by the cost for U-pick. Other than some nice decor, picnic tables set out, and the store, it doesn’t seem to have other attractions or ammenities, which I AM FINE WITH, BTW. So, I’m wondering what the charge of $5 person is for if we are also paying per pound for the fruits and veggies.
    Thanks!

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