Schmucker’s Produce Farm: a Touch of Amish Quality

Schmuckers sign close up Copy 225x300 Schmucker’s Produce Farm: a Touch of Amish Quality

The Schmucker’s sign marks the way.

 

You’ll find Schmucker’s Produce Farm just outside Fort Wayne on 12815 Doty Road. And they are open year round – except in the winter, when they are closed on Tuesdays and Thursdays. (They also don’t open on Sundays any time of the year.)

You have to watch for the turn to Doty road carefully – it’s not quite visible, yet you really know when you’ve missed it. The tall corn seems to separate behind you and wave. But there are signs – a big one on Doty Road, and a large one right outside the parking lot to Schmucker’s Produce Farm. The high, white greenhouses also clue you in.

A lot has changed at Schmuckers since I last visited the place. The store itself is sided in log-look siding. Entrance is through one door – exit through three other doors. Inside, the floors are a concrete laminate, polished to a high sheen. White lace valances flutter over big windows, and the feeling of being in a small supermarket takes over. Maybe it’s the rattling noise of shopping carts, rolling around the aisles.

Inside Schmuckers, you’ll find a little bit of everything, from seed packets to fresh fruit, popcorn and taco seasoning. In the aisles closest to the front of the store, there are rows of packaged seasonings. Celery salt, taco seasoning, onion powder, oat bran, and many other dried seasonings are set up in neatly-labeled bags, about a ½ quart each. Bags of dried noodles also fill these shelves, along with cans of instant gravy – simply heat and serve. In one alcove is the seed stand, loaded with small brown envelopes of just about any garden veggie you want – lettuce, watermelon, squash, pumpkins, and radishes, just to name a few. At $.69 per packet, that’s not too bad.

A refrigerated cooler holds paper-wrapped rounds of butter and different cheeses. White Colby and low-fat hot pepper cheese were just two of the several flavors on the shelves.

The area that hasn’t changed too much is the place where wooden bins hold corn cobs. Bags for your corn are hung from the ceiling – grab your own and choose from one of several varieties of corn that fill the wooden bins. Watermelons also are piled on nearby tables, while 50-lb. sacks of onions rest on a pallet on the floor.

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Pick your own sweet corn ears here, at Schmuckers.

Maybe the best scent at Schmuckers is the fruit. The deep, sweet scent of plums radiates from white handled bags, smelling like a piece of summer and wild freshness. Bags of apples, pears, nectarines and peaches are also available – you can buy apples in half peck, whole peck, or half bushel bags. Varieties available the day I visited were Golden Delicious, Paula Red and Gala.

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Fresh apples – don’t they look good?

Another sensory sensation is the pepper section – Schmuckers has non-spicy, sweet green jalapeños and fiery hot banana peppers, jalapeños and habaneras. Simply stand in front of the bins for a minute – you’ll feel a wave of heat. The colors are so vibrant, too – red, yellow and green, healthy and plump.

As you head towards one of the several check-out counters, you’ll walk through aisles of dried beans, lentils, flavorings (like black raspberry, vanilla and coconut) and candy. Bags of popping corn, envelopes of “Amish Country Microwave Popcorn,” and candy are also for sale. (The peanut butter malt balls looked quite tasty.)

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Lentils, beans and other dried mixes are ready for your kitchen. And they’re non-GMO, too!

Rows of potted mums are outside, in deep purple, vibrant yellow, and a mixture of many colors. A few metal-look benches are scattered between giant pots of flowers, and people are just waiting for another parking place to open up. The paved lot is smooth and easy to use – fairly wide. On the day I visited, people of all ages were loading cars, getting kids ready to go, and walking into the produce shop in a busy hustle. As we left, an Amish buggy trotted past, everyone dressed warmly in knit caps and coats – it was only around 50 degrees.

If you want to sample some of Fort Wayne’s Amish culture, just drive out of town for a short distance and you’ll be right in the heart of it. The Amish staff at Schmuckers is friendly, and they appreciate “English” (their term for non-Amish) customers.

Louisa

About

Louisa is a lifelong Fort Wayne resident. A long-time musician and literature aficionado, Louisa likes to explore the classical music offerings that Fort Wayne has to offer. (She also likes to browse the Allen County Public Library's stacks for just the right book!)

Enjoy “Merry, Not Scary” Wild Zoo Halloween

What’s better than the zoo during a nice day in the summer? Give up? A one-of-a-kind experience in the fall! Enter Wild Zoo Halloween at the Fort Wayne Children’s Zoo!

Giraffe Pumpkins 200x300 Enjoy Merry, Not Scary Wild Zoo Halloween If you’re looking for a low-cost and seasonal event to take your kids to, this is it.  When you visit the zoo from noon to 5 pm,  Oct. 17-19, 23-26 and 30-31, you can expect lots of entertainment.  Planned activities include: Trick or treating,  mini maze, pumpkin picking, jokes,  and a visit from Broomhilda the Witch. Insider’s Note: Guests of any age can purchase the Admission + Trick-or-Treating package, which allows collection of 10 treats and a pumpkin from the Pumpkin Patch.

Of course they’ll be time to see and interact with the animals. All activities are located in the Central Zoo and portions of the Australian Adventure. The African Journey and Indonesian Rain Forest will not be open during the Wild Zoo Halloween.

And be sure to mark your calendar for some special events:

  • October 17  Guessing Games – How much candy is in the jar?
  • October 18  Princess Day – Meet & greet our real Princesses 2-4 PM
  • October 19  Mascot Day – Meet & greet local Mascots 2-4 PM
  • October 23  Free Train Rides – Ride the train free  12-5 PM
  • October 24  Pumpkin Stomp & Chomp – Animals get pumpkins to eat and play with.
  • October 25  Hero Day – Meet & greet Police, Fire, and Military representatives 2-4 PM
  • October 26  Magic Day – Amazing Magic Shows
  • October 30  Free Train Rides – Ride the train free 12-5 PM
  • October 31  Pumpkin Decorating Workshop – Create a pumpkin masterpiece to take home

If nothing else, this is a great time to experience why the Fort Wayne Children’s Zoo has been consistently rated as one of the best children’s zoos in the country. If you can’t make it to Wild Zoo, the zoo re-opens in April.

About

Lauren Caggiano was raised in Fort Wayne, and returned in 2007 upon graduation from the University of Dayton. The president of WriteOn LLC, she specializes in writing, marketing, and French translation. In her spare time she enjoys travelling, yoga and volunteering. In the summer you can catch her riding around downtown on her vintage green Schwinn. For more information, check out her website: www.lcagg.com.

Come in to Gaze at the Sky

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Want to see the moon, the sun and a few planets? Check out Schouweiler Planetarium, where you have to see the sky from inside!

Maybe you remember going to the planetarium for a school trip? Or perhaps at a museum in a big city? Check out Fort Wayne’s own planetarium, the Edwin Clark Schouweiler Memorial Planetarium, located on the campus of the University of St. Francis. The Schouweiler Planetarium (say Shoe-wi-ler) is a staple for star gazing with an educational twist.

Hosting elementary field trips, holiday themed events, and just plain interesting shows for the public during festivals, this planetarium is cool for any age. Located inside the Achatz Hall of Science, the planetarium boasts a Spitz Model A4 projector, 75 seats, and the capacity to project images of the Milky Way, 2100 stars, and a host of other galactic phenomena. The comfortable seats recline, just a little, so you can see quite well from almost any seat in the studio. Note – you might want to avoid the very last row, next to the wall, if you don’t want to miss the starry action that occurs behind your head.

If you visit the Planetarium, you’ll enter through a pair of double doors and walk into a round room. A giant machine, rather resembling a large ant, is in the center, on a raised circular platform. This is the Spitz Projector. Star Trek-style seats fill the room, with a few handy aisles between the rows. What may really command your attention are the constellation images painted on the walls of the planetarium. Black lights mounted up in the low edge of the ceiling turn the shapes into glowing, neon designs. These constellations look real – they require little imagination to tell which is Taurus the Bull or Pisces the Fish or the Gemini Twins. And, as an added bonus, if you’re wearing light-colored clothing, it will glow in the blacklight with a purplish haze. Kids and adults like to stroll under the lights before a show, just to see if their shoe laces glow.

To see a show at the Shouweiler Planetarium, patrons should call about four weeks in advance of their desired show date. Visitors make reservations for the planetarium, then choose which program they want to see. Shows range in age-suitability from kindergarten through adult, with at least 11 different programs. Prices are listed on the Planetarium’s website – and they are quite low. Discounts for seniors, children, and families with children are also explained. For group attendance, exact prices per person are listed along with the different shows – cost varies by the program chosen. Shows are also done for specific events, like area festivals and the Christmas season. For these programs, you simply show up – you don’t have to request space at the planetarium ahead of time. Watch the Planetarium’s website, sign up for their electronic updates, and check out the Fort Wayne Visitor’s Bureau website for more information. You don’t want to miss the chance to explore the sky at Schouweiler!

Louisa

About

Louisa is a lifelong Fort Wayne resident. A long-time musician and literature aficionado, Louisa likes to explore the classical music offerings that Fort Wayne has to offer. (She also likes to browse the Allen County Public Library's stacks for just the right book!)

Fort Wayne’s Haunted Houses

Some people (myself included) are a little afraid of the dark. When a horror movie comes on TV, I have to flip on a light – just to make sure. For some reason, however, I make it a yearly tradition to visit a haunted house during the Halloween season. Maybe it’s the thrill of not knowing what’s going to happen, or I enjoy seeing my friends jump and scream.

This year, two haunted houses standout above the rest in Fort Wayne: The Haunted Castle & Black Forest and Hysterium. The perfect time to check out one or both of these venues is on the weekend. Dress warm and wear gym shoes. Make it a group outing with friends and family, or it’s the perfect date night idea. Fair warning, I wouldn’t eat a large meal beforehand!

 
castle and forest 300x300 Fort Waynes Haunted Houses
The Haunted Castle and Black Forest
8965 Auburn Rd,
Fort Wayne, IN 46825

Fridays and Saturdays: 7pm-11pm
Sundays and Thursdays: 7pm-9pm

http://www.hauntedcastle.com

logo 300x206 Fort Waynes Haunted Houses
Hysterium
4410 Arden Dr.
Fort Wayne, IN 46804

Fridays and Saturdays: 7 pm-Midnight
Sundays and Thursdays: 7 pm-9:30 pm

www.hysterium.com

For more FRIGHTFUL activity suggestions, check out our Fort Wayne Fright page!

John

About

A native of Fort Wayne, John started with Visit Fort Wayne in June 2012. He serves as the Media Specialist in the Group Sales Department, helping with marketing, public relations, social media and sales strategies. John graduated from Indiana University in 2008, with a degree in sports communication and minor degree in telecommunications. While in Bloomington, he interned at Peegs.com/Inside Indiana magazine, writing as a basketball recruiting columnist. He graduated from Bishop Luers High School in 2004. Outside of the office, John likes to exercise, hit the golf course, play the drums and spend time with family and friends. A sports enthusiast, he is a diehard Indiana Hoosiers basketball fan.

Fort Wayne is your place for girlfriend getaways

When was the last time you really let your hair down with some girlfriends? Chances are, it wasn’t recent enough. Why not let loose with a change of scenery? Fort Wayne has plenty to offer women of all ages for girlfriend getaways. Here are a few of my recommendations, in no particular order:

  • Have drinks at Club Soda. There is a reason this restaurant/bar is a favorite of Harrison Ford. Try one of their signature martinis, and you won’t be disappointed.

    photo 11 300x224 Fort Wayne is your place for girlfriend getaways

    Find a one-of-a-kind treasure at Opal & Ruby.

  • Wine a bit. There are two wineries with 30 miles of Fort Wayne. Country Heritage, just north of Fort Wayne, urges you to enjoy up to five free tastings, and then savor your selection (or one of their amazing wine slushies!) under their gazebo, or as you sit and rock awhile on their front porch. Two EE’s tasting room combines simple elegance with a full view of the production room. Guests can overlook the vineyard as they peruse their wine selections, and freely enjoy the 40-acre grounds.
  • Get artsy. Wine & Canvas combines art with  Their studio on the southwest side of town is bright and cheerful–the walls are adorned with sample paintings from previous sessions. You’ll be provided with a canvas, supplies and instructions needed to make your own masterpiece. A beverage bar is available that serves wine, beer, soda, and water. A small selection of snacks is available, as well. There’s also a private room for parties.
  • Indulge. If you haven’t heard of DeBrand’s you’re missing out. This world renowned purveyor of chocolate is based right here in Fort Wayne. Come in for a piece or two and savor the fine confections.
  • Engage in some retail therapy. Forget big box stores–you should check out what makes Fort Wayne unique. It’s the independently owned retailers that really stick out. We recommend Opal & Ruby Gift Emporium to find a souvenir or gift. Inside the store you’ll find some gems as hand-made jewelry, pillows, picture frames candles, cookies, and bags. A great deal of the products are locally sourced from such vendors.

Here’s to creating some memories!

About

Lauren Caggiano was raised in Fort Wayne, and returned in 2007 upon graduation from the University of Dayton. The president of WriteOn LLC, she specializes in writing, marketing, and French translation. In her spare time she enjoys travelling, yoga and volunteering. In the summer you can catch her riding around downtown on her vintage green Schwinn. For more information, check out her website: www.lcagg.com.