Winds of change blow through; farm opens corn maze now, berries in spring
After 40 years of dairy farming south of Hammond, Greg and Irma Zwald, were looking for something different. That change came in the form of a berry, pumpkin and corn maze farm called White Pine Berry Farm located at 1482 Oak Drive in the town of Kinnickinnic.
The parents of three grown children will be opening the farm to the public starting Saturday. A 10-acre, Hawaiian-themed corn maze will be ready for guests to explore.
The corn maze will consist of two parts -- easy and hard.
According to the Zwalds, the easy part should take about 30 minutes to go through, with the harder section taking another 30 minutes due to its smaller area.
"It should take an hour plus to do both," said Greg.
The easy section was cut into Hawaiian flowers, with two big palm trees, and a sunset with waves.
The harder section is the image of an erupting volcano -- guests will weave their way through the volcano.
To cut the maze, the Zwalds, along with their children, Tanya, Steph and Andrew and son-in-law Jason, gridded the field with a graphic sketch, they then cut the pattern with a rototiller and lawn mower.
The local kids who have been through the maze give it high marks.
Similar to other corn mazes in the area, there will be maps available, as well as sheets of 15 knowledge-based questions.
The maze will be open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturdays and 1-6 p.m. Sundays through Sunday, Oct. 28. Adults, 13 and older, will pay $7; kids, 3-12, $5; and kids under two get in free.
A family fun day will take place from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 22.
Activities will include a corn maze, tractor rides, pumpkin painting, petting zoo, pony rides, piñatas and a bounce house. The cost will be $10 for adults, over 13; $5 for kids 3-12; and free for those over 2 (some activities may be an extra charge).
At this time food for purchase is undecided but guests are invited to bring a picnic lunch and blanket and spread out under the numerous white pines that dot the property.
According to the Zwalds, berry picking will be available come spring. This year they have been busy planting -- 20,000 strawberry plants and 4,000 raspberry bushes.
Four varieties of strawberries will be available in the two-acre strawberry patch. There will be multiple types of raspberries including: black, golden and red. They have also been preparing the fields for blueberries.
The farm will also be producing pumpkins, currants, gourds, asparagus, and rhubarb, all in "you pick" fashion
The property, which the Zwalds, who have married 30 years, just bought is, according to Greg, great for berry farming, mainly because it is located higher-up which is better for frost protection.
The 140-acre farm also has sandier soil that's good for the berry plants.
The property also houses a remodeled barn, vast views of the valley and numerous white pines.
"When you hear wind through white pines, it's a unique rushing sound," said Greg, "I hope people get that experience."
For more information about White Pine Berry Farm email Greg or Irma at email@example.com.