June 12, 2024

Jonamac Orchard hosting field day

Families from near and far have made visiting Jonamac Orchard an annual autumn tradition.

MALTA, Ill. — The Illinois State Horticultural Society announced that Jonamac Orchard in Malta will host its annual Summer Horticulture Field Day.

The McArtor and Spychal families will host the tour of their farm and agritainment operation from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. on June 6.

The business has roots dating back to 1984, when Gerald and Mary Lynn McArtor purchased the farm from Stan Johnson, starting with only a couple hundred trees and 15 acres.

The ISHS Summer Horticulture Field Day, sponsored by ISHS and the Illinois Specialty Growers Association, is an opportunity for horticulture enthusiasts to tour a local orchard and agritainment operation to learn more about the business, visit vendors and participate in educational talks and farm tours.

This year, guests will learn more about Jonamac Orchard, located at 19412 Shabbona Road, Malta, and its current operation. During the event, guests can participate in a field tour to view current growing practices and discuss the various apple varieties grown on the farm.

Guests also will view pumpkin planting, flower fields and hear about the process of creating and growing the annual corn maze. The field tour will end with a discussion on hard cider in the Cider House.

Specialists in plant pathology, entomology and weed and pest management from the University of Illinois and U of I Extension, as well as major industry supporters with new equipment, seed and nursery representatives and other pertinent agri-industry members will participate in the field tour and discussions to provide updates and information to growers.

An indoor tour focusing on making doughnuts, caramel apples and the bakery and retail operation at Jonamac is available for those not interested in a field tour. The indoor tour will include discussions on employee hiring and management techniques for the season.

After lunch, field day guests may continue to learn more about the farm to learn about various agritourism features at Jonamac, such as their activities, events and the haunted corn maze.

To register or find more information, visit www.tickettailor.com/events/ishs. Advance registration is $35 and includes lunch.

For questions, email Jenna Spychal, ISHS summer horticulture field day coordinator, at jenna@jonamacorchard.com or call 217-254-5258.

About Jonamac Orchard

Gerald “Jerry” McArtor named the farm Jonamac to celebrate both the Johnson and McArtor families that had owned the orchard. In 1993, Jerry and Mary Lynn McArtor welcomed their son, Kevin, and his wife, Denice, into the business.

The couple moved into the house on the property in 1996 and raised their sons, Max and Jake, on the farm. Kevin and Denice McArtor helped grow the business further by adding a gift store in the bakery area in addition to bringing in family activities such as a corn maze, play area and more.

In 2012, Jerry and Lynn McArtor’s granddaughter, Jenna Spychal and her husband, Mike, started working full time at the business and have since become partners. They have continued to help the family business grow by expanding the orchard, adding events and creating new products such as hard cider and wine. Jenna and Mike Spychal also added the fourth generation to the family with their children, Amy and Cal.

In the last 40 years, the McArtor and Spychal families have worked together to build the farm into a fall destination for guests from the Chicagoland area.

AgriNews Staff

AgriNews Staff

The Illinois AgriNews and Indiana AgriNews staff is in the field each week, covering topics that affect local farm families and their businesses. We give readers information they can’t get elsewhere to help them make better farming decisions.