While summer activities are winding down across the Lakes Area, fall activities are winding up at Otter Berry Farm.
The New York Mills farm is open every weekend through the end of October for autumn attractions like a corn maze, corn pit, wagon rides, farm animals and family games, plus daily pumpkin and squash buying.
Owners Cordell and Kris Huebsch open their farm up to the public to encourage education about farming and offer opportunities for people to get out and enjoy nature, get off their phones, and spend time with family and friends. Both have agricultural degrees and have farmed all their lives.
“We never really thought about the end product and who gets your end product, like with corn farming and stuff like that -- you don’t see your consumer. So when we started the strawberries, it was so cool to see people come out and eat strawberries and bring their grandparents and grandkids...and then they were able to see the farm and the animals,” Kris Huebsch said. “When we decided to do the corn maze, that was one of our main reasons, was to be able to get people outside in the fall.”
School classes, church groups, Girl Scouts, Cub Scouts, 4-H and other local youth groups visit the farm every year. Last Thursday, Oct. 7, Perham second graders cheered about having the farm all to themselves. The afternoon went from quiet to "fast and furious," as Huebsch described, with the delighted screams and ecstatic energy of the kids filling the farm.
After two years of no field trips due to the pandemic, Heart of the Lakes Elementary School second grade teachers said it was great to get their students out of the classroom again. Teacher Lisa Smith said it was fun, “letting the kids be kids again,” and they even found one of their magic ‘E’ words in the hay bale maze at the farm: twine. Running and jumping in the maze, Smith said, will help the students remember the word.
October weekends sometimes include special events at the farm, too, like a family-friendly Night Maze on Oct. 22, where people are asked to bring their own flashlights as they traverse the maze from 7:30-9:30 p.m. Over MEA weekend (Minnesota Educator Academy) while kids are home from school, Oct. 21-24, vendors and music will join the fun.
If you go
What: Otter Berry Farm fall activities
When: October weekends on Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. and Sundays from 1-5 p.m.
Where: 38132 470th Ave., New York Mills
More information: Admission prices are $8 for everyone ages 13 and up, $5 for kids ages 6-12, and free for kids 5 and under. No admission is necessary to purchase pumpkins. Pumpkin and squash purchases are available daily. Get more information by calling 218-346-5034 or visiting otterberryfarm.com.