Even though I am always working Saturday mornings, and most evenings, I’ve often daydreamed about an ideal weekend day spent in the heart of the lakes area. If you are traveling from hours away to visit the farm and want to make a day of it, here are my recommendations.
If I had my druthers, and even when I don’t, I would start my Saturday morning early in Annandale at the farmers market. The market opens at 8am in the city hall parking lot in downtown Annandale. I recommend strolling in around 8:30 even if you’re a lil groggy. Grab a caramel roll or honey-nut bagel from PapaTom’s stand, then wander right over to In Hot Water Coffee & Tea, a mere feet away, to buy some delicious coffee. Full disclosure: PapaTom is my uncle and I previously worked five years at the coffee shop, but both stops are beloved local favorites. To get the full effect, just hang out here for awhile. Take a seat in the coffee shop, and then walk around the market. I have overheard some unexpectedly fantastic conversations here over the years. Most weeks at the market you can find Basic Care natural body products, organic produce from French Lake Farmer, baked goods from PapaTom, jam and produce from us (why I never have Saturday off), bread from Diamond City Bakery, Frisky Rooster salsa and bloody mary mix, and fair trade home goods. This market is small but lively. I’ve watched it develop since its beginning almost ten years ago, and its become a tradition for so many in the community.
- Unfortunately PapaTom won’t be finishing the 2015 market season, largely because the hornets have been such a problem for him this year. However, we will be selling amazing apple empanadas, and Diamond City offers cinnamon rolls.
Once your coffee cup is empty and you’re needing to walk off that caramel roll, drive about 5 miles to the Wright County Swappers Meet. This isn’t a Brooklyn style flea market, or a quaint set of stalls selling hip, artisanal products. This is a full on genuine central Minnesota experience. You’ll find cotton candy, blueberries, puppies, mini donuts, golf carts, lots of beanie babies, .50 cent books, hand carved furniture, and treasures that have probably spent more time in a garage than outside of one. I might not be selling the experience that well but I highly recommend the trip. You’ll find penny pinching locals, wealthy cabin owners, smelly homesteaders, and tourists all walking the same paths through the swappers meet. It’s a collection of all that is good and honest about this area.
Lunch: there are plenty of food vendors at the Swappers Meet, mostly items like cheese curds if my memory serves me right. You can also head back into Annandale to eat at Jules Bistro, or enjoy a hamburger at LaLa’s bar and grill in South Haven. Otherwise you’re always welcome to bring your own lunch for the day and eat at the farm.
After the Swappers Meet you’re only a few miles from Fairhaven Farm. We offer a handful of activities including: U-pick apples (only Zestar), grapes, raspberries, and pumpkins, and our themed corn maze this year featuring Peter Rabbit and Friends. We also have a gorgeous rock garden anyone is welcome to walk through, and a collection of funny looking chickens that kids find more entertaining than you can imagine. In our renovated barn we offer honey, maple syrup, apple pie, apple crisp, caramel apples, Popcorn Patty caramel corn, squash, sweet peppers, jam, and Flanders pottery.
The last stop of the day is less of a recommendation and more of a requirement. Do yourself a favor and stop at Spilled Grain Brewhouse in Annandale. Just opening this summer, the brewhouse has found fast and well-deserved success. Our family favorite is the Highest Point I.P.A., but none of us has had a beer we don’t like. The inside is rustic in way that can be enjoyed by either those prefer the finer things in life, or those who just need a lawn chair to feel comfortable. Some nonalcoholic beverages are available if the kids are with you, and the back has foosball, and air hockey. There is even a basketball hoop outside.
After reading this itinerary my mother has announced she’d like to take a Saturday off to do these things. Not likely she’ll be able to alter her schedule, but you are certainly more than welcome to take the day off! We hope to see you soon.
Apples Now Available:
Honeycrisp, Zestar, Autumn Blush, KinderKrisp*, Chestnut Crab, Peachy Keen*, Intensity*, Shizam*, and 1837. Under the Apples tab you’ll find an apple calendar and descriptions of most apples we offer.
* apples developed by Dave Macgregor at Fairhaven Farm