Port Farms opens for falltime fun

Journal file photo by Maryann Mook Chelsie Bauer, 6, of East Springfield, picks a pumpkin from the pumpkin patch at Port Farms, 2055 Stone Quarry Road, Waterford. Today, Port Farms opens for its 2009 Harvest Season with several activities for children and adults, including hay rides, food, a straw fort, a corn maze, corn-kernel box, and pumpkin slingshots. Port Farms is owned by Jerry and Kelly Port.

WATERFORD — The nights are cooler, the days are shorter and the leaves are beginning to turn bright shades of orange, yellow and red.

Fall is here.

And what better way to enjoy the season than with hay rides, a pumpkin-seed spitting contest or a 5-acre corn maze.

Port Farms, 2055 Stone Quarry Road, officially kicks off its 2009 Harvest Season today and residents are being invited to experience all things fall.

Children and adults can enjoy a day of family fun with the popular rope maze, tunnel slide, corn box and straw fort. Plus, check out rows of pumpkins and gourds in all shapes and sizes.

In addition to some traditional favorites, fourth-generation owners Jerry and Kelly Port have added more activities to their 400 acre farm.

“We say every year that we are going to back down on ideas and then we get going,” said Kelly Port. “It’s like an addiction.”

A County Store has been added and will sell unique gifts, food baskets, and Christmas and fall items.

The Barnyard Cafe is the newest place to enjoy the soup of the day, salads and the Port Farms version of paninis sandwiches.

A bee observation hive is located in the Bee Bungalow, and goats can be found roaming in their natural habitat at Goat Mountain.

“Words can’t describe the amount of time and energy that goes into this project,” Kelly Port said. “We make sure our guests are surprised every year they come back, at least the ones that have been with us from day one. The new ones are usually shocked at the setup when they get here and we get a lot of word of mouth from that.”

The Ports say they have had visitors from as far away as Kansas, Colorado and New Jersey, and even two famous celebrities.

“It’s kind of funny to see a Ferrari drive onto your property,” Kelly Port said.

Maintaining and operating the farm is no easy task, and the Ports enlist the help of about 30 staff members every year.

“I work beside some pretty great people, along with my husband and kids,” Kelly Port said. “Once we are open, my daughter helps in the kitchen and my son does too many jobs to mention.

Port Farms — which now produces soybeans, wheat, corn, pumpkins and Christmas trees — was established in 1897.

See the Journal's Saturday, September 19th edition for full story.

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