Kuipers Family Farm features apple picking, pumpkin patch, all on 1 tank of gas

MORTON, Ill. (WLS) -- If you are looking for some fall family fun, Roz's latest One Tank Trip takes us to an all-in-one family farm in DeKalb County!

One of my favorite things to do this time of year is apple picking, so I looked for an orchard with a variety of apples that's not too far away. Well, I found one, with so much!

From tangy to sweet, Kuiper's Family Farm in Maple Park has more than three dozen varieties of apples in their 160 acre orchard, which started as a pumpkin patch 23 years ago!

"When we had small children we used to go to pumpkin farms," said Waid Kuipers, president of Kuipers Family Farm. "We'd see that there wasn't much to do. I said how about we start a pumpkin farm where there's things for the kids to do. We knew there was an apple orchard across the street from where we lived, so we started a pumpkins farm across the street from that, and a few years of doing the pumpkins farm blended into doing an apple orchard and a pumpkin farm!"

Each week there are two to three different types of apples available for U-pic, based on ripeness. While you're harvesting, you may come across some unfamiliar names!

"Right now we have about 47 different varieties," said Will Kuipers. "A lot of places won't have stuff like Pixie Crunch or Autumn Crips, you know, something that you wouldn't go to the store and find."

There is a proper way to pick an apple, with good reason!

"The proper way is to just lift and keep twisting till the apple comes off, just like that. So right here is the bud for next year-if you pull or yank on it, that bud's gonna come with it and an apple won't grow there next year," Will Kuipers said.

You can also purchase apples in the orchard store, where you'll find freshly made cider doughnuts, apples pies, fudge, caramel apples, kettle and flavored popcorn. They even make their own apple cider with super-cute cups for the small kiddos and hard cider for the parents! They also offer recipe books, gourmet foods and gifts.

The pumpkin farm can keep you busy all day!

"We have about 30 or so different activities around the pumpkin farm, some of our most popular are of course the jumping pillow, we've got a new one this year called the Barnyard Challenge which is kind of a ropes course," said joe Kuipers, pumpkin farm manager.

You can visit farm animals, including goats and sheep, lllamas and pigs, and chicks, that visitor are allowed to hold on weekends!

"And bring his feet up, so he can't do any kickin' and he should be nice and calm. Like that? Perfect! You're a natural!" Joe Kuipers said.

Around the corner is the Haunted Walk!

Every visitor gets a free pumpkin from the pumpkin patch!

There are at least two more weeks of apple picking more, if the weather stays cool. The pumpkin farm is open through October 31.
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