Tom's Fall Festival
Walk into Tom’s Farm Market and Greenhouses in Huntley, and Susie, the farm’s public relations director, may greet you. She will likely bypass shaking your hand as welcome and will opt to lick you instead.
No, Susie isn’t a public relations director with poor manners. The golden retriever belongs to owners Tom and Cheryl Halat. Susie makes her rounds around the farm daily, looking for visitors to pat her on the head and, if she’s lucky, rub her belly. Susie’s greeting exemplifies the Halat’s approach to business. "We are family run and family oriented," Tom said.
One Last Hurrah!
For the last two decades, before winter comes and keeps everyone indoors, Tom’s has been celebrating one last hurrah. The Fall Festival begins the last weekend of September and ends October 31st. With entertainment seven days a week, there’s no excuse to sit inside on a lovely fall day.
The adventurous can wander through more than a mile of cornstalk pathways in Tom’s "Batty Good Maze." Fall decorations are perfect backdrops for photos. Pumpkins, cornstalks and hay bails accentuate the beauty of the season. Take a ride on the hay wagon into the pumpkin field. With hundreds of pumpkins to choose from, the perfect pumpkin is just waiting to be picked. Kids can also take a tractor pulled barrel ride, build a scarecrow, jump around in a giant pumpkin or take a pony ride.
Before leaving, no one can pass up the bakeshop, where fresh-made pies, bread and jams can be purchased. "A lot of our bake shop is based on the seasons of what is growing on the farm," said Peggy Bergquist, who works at Tom’s.
The Greenthumb Behind the Operation
If you’re wondering whom to thank for the fresh produce, the name of the farm says it all. Tom takes a huge role in the day-to-day operation of the farm. "He’s been growing produce since he was a teenager," said Peggy. "He’s an expert."