Tuesday, September 15, 2015

We Are Indiana Agriculture: Pleasant View Orchard

By Sarah Mahan of This Farm Family's Life

Conveniently located 1 mile north of Interstate 74 in Northwest Shelby County, Pleasant View Orchard is home to 31 acres of apple trees, as well as a 2-acre pumpkin patch.  As Adria Kemper explains, “The orchard was started in the 1930’s by the Reude family.  It was then purchased by the Anderson family in the early 1990’s, then sold to the Hopkins family in the mid-1990’s, who were friends of the Anderson family.  The orchard remained Anderson Orchard until we purchased it in 2013.  We renamed it Pleasant View Orchard.  We grow over 20 varieties of apples that are harvested from July through October.  We offer U-Pick apples and pumpkins.”

Pleasant View Orchard, owned by brothers Jeff and Duane Kemper and their families, also has a country store that allows people to purchase bagged apples, fresh vegetables, fruit, preserves, apple butter, specialty sauces, and much more.  Tractor rides are part of the fun as families make their way out to the 2-acre pumpkin patch which usually begins the last weekend in September.  There’s also a playground for the kids to enjoy.  As their website says, “There’s something for the whole family.”  Pleasant View Orchard also has a concession stand filled with homemade apple cobbler, elephant ears, fried biscuits with apple butter, corn dogs, hot dogs, nachos, BBQ sandwiches, caramel apples and apple cider slushes.

The orchard is currently open daily from 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. 
Free events this season at the orchard include:

September 26th-Live Hammered Dulcimer music from 3-6 p.m.

October 3rd- Live music from Steve Jeffris from 3-6p.m.

October 10th-Live music from Birch Creek Bluegrass Band from 3-6 p.m.

October 25th- Trunk or Treat at 2p.m./ Silly Safaris show at 3 p.m.

For more information, visit their website: www.pleasantvieworchardin.com

Sunday, September 6, 2015

I am Indiana Agriculture: Satek Winery

By Sarah Mahan of This Farm Family's Life

Satek Winery, located near the intersection of I-80/90 and I-69, sees great volume of traffic passing by; most drivers are unaware the winery exists before seeing the road signage, Jason Satek explains.  “Satek Winery is, in a sense, a cautionary tale; what may happen if you follow your passion and let a hobby take over your life.  If that sounds appealing, or even not unappealing, our story may even be inspirational.”

Jason’s father, Larry, began as an amateur winemaker around 1975 in Chesterton, Maryland.  He was a college professor teaching chemistry, and the house that he and his wife rented happened to have a few grape vines in the backyard.  “He had the knowledge, the raw materials, and the curiosity, and he had the time.  He also had a 3-year-old, but I must not have been too time-consuming!  He began with small batches and began the process of gaining experience.  He found that he enjoyed it.”

Larry left academia in 1979 and took a job with Amoco Research in Illinois.  “Amoco was acquired by British Petroleum and there had begun to be a great number of layoffs,” Jason explains.  With three kids in college, Larry and Jason’s step-mother, Pam, decided to look to agriculture as a backup plan. 

“My step-mother was raised in Fremont, in the 101 Lakes region of NE Indiana.  Her great-grandfather had purchased 28 acres of lakeshore property on the third basin of Lake James in 1915—the land that they still reside on today.”

The Sateks cleared two acres of what was an apple orchard in the 1930’s and 40’s.  They planted the original six varieties of grapes, which they tended, sprayed, pruned and harvested to sell to other wineries in Michigan and Indiana.

“In June of 2001, they opened Satek Winery and haven’t looked back.”

Satek Winery offers free wine tasting in the tasting room overlooking the production area.  They usually carry around 20 different wines ranging from dry to sweet, red, white and rose, local and more remote.  “We maintain quality across the board and have won medals for almost every wine ever made.  Our better sellers are sweeter wines, but their success allows us to produce drier, more niche, wines that might appeal to a smaller, select audience.”

“My father and step-mother have long preached, ‘Good wine, good fun’ as a mantra, and we have developed a handful of yearly events: art shows, a holiday open house, a 5K run/walk and 10K run, and a celebration of Steuben County’s namesake Baron von Steuben, to name a few. But we have largely chosen to grow through distribution.  Satek wine can now be found throughout Indiana, and that is a growth pattern any farmer could be pleased with.”