IT WAS AN AVERAGE WEDNESDAY and my husband said, “I think we should bid on Tract 1 of the Klackle property” (full disclosure, I said no thank you). That was the beginning of our adventure. By 6:30 that night we were the new owners of a 40-acre orchard, a 20-acre pumpkin patch and in total 75 acres of agri-tainment property. Prior to that day we hadn’t even discussed purchasing it. But from that moment on we knew we were the right people to reinvent a beloved fall tradition in the West Michigan area.
Generations of families have picked apples, eaten donuts, taken wagon rides, smiled for photos and made proposals on this land. We knew we had to reopen this gathering space for generations to come. In the days that followed our impulsive purchase we googled things like “how to grow apples”. We began dreaming about what our new “boutique orchard” would become. We found a barn restoration expert and contracted him to bring our 120-year old barn back to life as an event venue. We met with a local coffee roaster and were sold on their commitment to excellence in taste and process. We hired the perfect marketing team to bring our vision into reality with mood boards, color schemes and logos. We even tested out the donut machines to make sure the recipe tasted just right (mission accomplished, by the way).
Before the ink was dry on the property sale we had to get to work in the apple orchard. We needed a tractor. And equipment. And someone experienced with these things (thank heaven for Roberto). We’re doing the work and are anticipating our first crop this fall. We don’t claim to be apple growers yet but if all goes well, this fall we are officially changing our titles.
WHAT DOES THE FUTURE HOLD for Frügthaven Farm? This year we will be open from August 15 until Halloween. We’ll offer MADCAP coffee, locally grown flowers, gifts & home décor, cider, donuts, mums, pumpkins and, of course, fresh apples. We’ll feature food trucks on the weekends and casual lawn games so you can spend a day at the farm with friends and family. Take a wagon ride through the orchard or call ahead for a quick donut run; either way we hope to offer just what you love about the orchard experience.
At the end of the season we’ll close down to begin our renovation projects. The front of the market building will become our Kaffebar (coffee shop). It will have it’s own entrance so you can get your coffee before work or meet a friend for a cup and conversation. The back section of the market will become our Cidery and we look forward to brewing hard cider, distilling apple spirits and developing recipes for things like “Uncle Paul’s Pumpkin Ale.”
Around our grounds you’ll be able to enjoy concerts and open-air movies in the lawn, shop large markets featuring vintage finds and hand made goods, celebrate weddings, host parties, eat great food… yes, we have big dreams. But it starts small, this fall, and we can’t wait to bring you along for the ride. Welcome back to the orchard. It’s time to fall in love all over again. AP