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OUTDOORS

Farming Out Your Vacation

 


 

Located in Michigan’s “Fruit Belt” region, Saugatuck/Douglas makes for the perfect agricultural-focused escape with abundant opportunities for you to connect with the land, get closer to the source of your food, and experience firsthand all the bounty that surrounds us each season.

 

Second only to California in agricultural diversity, Michigan offers an incredible array of fruits and vegetables—and agricultural adventures—to savor throughout the year. In Saugatuck/Douglas, picturesque farms, orchards, and vineyards invite guests to experience their food and drink right at the source, all while learning a little something in the process.

Work the land by visiting a U-pick for blueberries or apples, mingle with farm animals as you sample artisanal cheese or cider, or stomp a grape or two as you learn about the winemaking process. While there are many activities to choose from, here a few of our favorite places to visit.

Evergreen Lane Farm & Creamery

Evergreen Lane Creamery makes delectable handcrafted cheeses right on their farm with milk from their own goats and cow’s milk from local dairies. Visitors can interact with their herd of LaMancha goats, filled with personality and mischief. The farm and tasting room are open 6 days a week for tasting and purchasing cheese. Spring, summer, and fall are the best times to see the goat kids frolicking about. The farm also offers fresh organic apples during the fall.

 

Pleasant Hill Farm

Owned and operated through three generations of farmers, Pleasant Hill Farm grows blueberries that have benefited from over forty years of organic cultivation. For those interested in U-pick activities, organic blueberries and strawberries are available in season. Every March, the farm celebrates the advent of spring by tapping their maple trees and boiling hundreds of gallons of sap into maple syrup, which is available for purchase. Visitors can also enjoy a scenic 4-acre vista of poppies and wildflowers that get planted each year to supply nectar for butterflies and bees.

Waypost Brewing Co.

A farmhouse brewery situated on a 58-acre working farm, Waypost Brewing Co. brews traditional and hybrid craft beer styles with high-quality farm-grown and local ingredients. Their open-air brewery invites the natural flora found in the farm's soil and air and allows it to drive their beer-making process. Visit their farm, tasting room, and beer garden patio year-round, where they host an array of events and outdoor activities for the whole family.

 

Virtue Cider

Virtue Cider is located among acres of vibrant Western Michigan farmland and orchards and provides a picturesque setting for sharing cider and food with family and friends. All of their craft ciders are made on-site where they press local fruit, ferment the juice, and age it in barrels in their cider houses. Situated on a working 48-acre farm, Virtue Cider also grows heritage vegetables (available for purchase during the summer) and raises heritage breed animals, including Gloucestershire Old Spot pigs and Icelandic sheep. Tours and events are usually scheduled throughout the year.

Modales Winery

Nestled in the heart of the fruit belt in Fennville, Modales Winery distinguishes itself with small-batch, handcrafted, estate-grown wines. Modales combines traditional winemaking techniques, such as hand-harvesting their premium grapes, to create wines that express the season and uniqueness of the soil in which the grapes are grown. An expansive patio overlooking their 76-acre farm makes the perfect spot to enjoy the fruits of their labor. Tours are given where visitors can learn about the winery’s estates, soil, vineyards, and winemaking techniques. 

 

For more ideas on where to visit, Lakeshore Harvest Country is a Lake Michigan area agritourism trail that promotes participating farms and wineries located between Saugatuck and South Haven. Each year, the group sponsors events such as road rallies and scavenger hunts with prizes as participants explore area farms and experience some of the freshest locally grown fruits and vegetables around. Visit their website to download a tour guide/map.

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