Minot area residents will soon have the opportunity to purchase locally-grown fruits and vegetables while watching their children navigate a corn maze or find their perfect pumpkin companion when Berry Acres opens its retail store, pumpkin patch and corn maze center this summer and fall.
"We went to a trade show last year in Michigan where we learned about pumpkin patches and pick-your-owns (patches)," said Calvin Berry, who owns Berry Farms with his wife, Ashley. "I thought it was a neat idea that I wanted to bring back to North Dakota and Minot."
Located on 40 acres near Green Thumb Greenhouse, one mile west of the Highway 83 Bypass, Berry Acres will feature a 20,000 pumpkin patch and an eight-acre corn maze, which will debut Sept. 18 in the shape of a buck's head. Other child-centered activities include a tractor pull, blow-up obstacle course, flashlight shows, pumpkin carving nights and pumpkin sling-shot competitions.
The new fall family entertainment endeavor is a far cry from Berry Acres' business roots.
Started five years ago by Berry and his sister Heather, CH Cuts what would become Berry Acres began as a wholesale cut flowers and vegetable business that worked with supermarket chains such as Dan's Supermarket before expanding their operation to 12 acres and moving into the farmers market arena. Now in another transition, Berry Acres is moving into retail.
"We've always grown and sold vegetables, but when we decided to do the new pumpkin patch we knew we were going to need a building for everyone," Berry said. "We figured we could use it to sell veggies out of it too."
Berry Acres retail store
What: Will sells a variety of seasonal locally-grown fruits and vegetables
Where: located 1 mile west of the Highway 83 bypass on Country Club Road
When: Opens July 12
Hours: Monday-Saturday noon-6 p.m.
Berry Acres corn maze and pumpkin patch
What: Minot area's newest pumpkin patch and fall entertainment center
When: Sept. 18-Oct. 31
Where: located 1 mile west of the Highway 83 Bypass on Country Club Road
Hours: Monday-Friday noon-7 p.m.; Saturday and Sunday 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Cost: $5 per person; special group rates available
The 40-foot by 60-foot store, started in mid-April and expected to be completed by July, will feature a variety of fresh fruits like strawberries, raspberries, cantaloupe, watermelon and honeycrisp apples as well as vegetables of every color, size and texture. In addition to the locally-grown produce, Berry said the store will also sell homemade jams, jellies and birdseed.
"Our main goal with the store is to try to beat the time it takes to get the vegetables out ...," Berry said. "Our growing season is so short here so we're going to try to get our stuff out two weeks ahead of everyone else."
Although the first pumpkins have yet to come off the vine or the first steps taken into the maze, Berry said the company is already planning to expand the operation in the future with the addition of pick-your-own strawberry, apple and plum patches, which should be available beginning next year.