Even before the robins return and the lawn begins greening, garden buffs and outdoor aficianados start to plan. Ah, the flowers and vegetables that will grace their yards and plots, the farmers markets and U-pick farms that await! The earth’s bounty finds its home in Northern Indiana’s LaPorte County, the perfect place to plant, pick, peruse, and discover outdoor pleasures.
Plant – With a Little Help from These Friends
Beachside Gardens & Gifts, Michigan City – In a region where sand dunes are key, this center specializes in dune landscaping and will help with any desired garden design and veggie plots too. Shop for everything to make your garden and landscape lovely – annuals and perennials, including hardy rhododendrons and azaleas, plus shrubs, trees, pots, and garden supplies.
Blooms Greenhouse Grower Outlet, LaPorte – This family-owned business offers quality blooms at outlet prices, with an expanded retail area and inventory in 2023. They specialize in oversize annuals such as gorgeous mums, plus perennials, vegetables, herbs and ready-for-you hanging baskets and planters. Open April-October.
It’s the Berries! U-Pick or Pick Up
Billy Boy’s Blueberry Barn, Michigan City – Picking your own blueberries is a tradition for many families at this 10-acre haven where eight varieties of the fruit grow. It can be your family’s go-to adventure, too. Don’t feel like picking? Buy them already harvested along with preserves, local honey, and their scrumptious pies and muffins.
Grandma’s Berry Patch, LaCrosse – A day at Grandma’s is a fun day for the whole family. Pick your own juicy blueberries, blackberries, and gooseberries, or buy them ready-picked. Bring along a picnic and enjoy it at a shaded shelter, and make sure to purchase some homemade jam and salsa. Open seasonally.
Huber Blueberry Farms, Union Mills – Not only can you pick your own or buy ready-picked blueberries at this small, family-owned farm, but they also grow succulent red raspberries, including a second crop that matures near the end of the summer season. Homegrown asparagus is available in May (ready-picked only). Take home some delicious jam along with honey that comes from Huber’s own hives. Open June-September.
Gather up the Homegrowns
Burek Farms, LaPorte – Look for the huge corn statue and you know you’ve arrived at this terrific market, offering homegrown produce throughout the season, along with handmade gifts, jewelry, quilts, and other decor. The season starts out with asparagus, strawberries, and blueberries, then moves on to summer’s sweet corn, green beans, tomatoes, peppers, zucchini, cabbage, and broccoli, and on into fall with pumpkins, Indian corn, and mums.
Coulters’ Farm Produce and Greenhouse, Westville – This market and greenhouse has everything to satisfy your palate, fill your garden with beauty, and entertain the family in the fall. Shop for bedding plants and hanging baskets in the spring, load up on sweet corn, tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, cabbage and beans in the summer, and delight in the corn maze, pony rides for the kids, and hayrides to pick your own pumpkins in the fall.
Mark’s Farm Market & Greenhouses, LaPorte – This three-season market fills your needs from spring through the Christmas holidays. Bedding plants including herbs and vegetables, patio pots, hanging baskets and perennials take center stage in the spring, with a host of homegrown fruits and vegetables from summer into the fall. Shop for Christmas trees and wreaths in December.
Apple Orchards Display Deep Roots
Garwood Orchards, LaPorte – It’s easy to make a day of it at this longstanding orchard, in business since 1831. A host of fruits and vegetables grow from summer’s berries and cherries through fall’s numerous varieties of apples. You can pick your own or buy them already harvested. Catch a horse-drawn or tractor-pulled wagon ride to the orchards or fields of U-pick sunflowers. Visitors love the Bake Shoppe, where pies, muffins, cookies and other treats are sold. Don’t miss the cider, honey, meat and cheeses at the market. Enjoy barbecued food and musical entertainment on special weekends at the Garwood Grill.
Radke Orchards, Michigan City – More than 20 varieties of apples grow in the orchards at this homestead business that’s been in the same family for generations. It’s a perfect autumn paradise for people who want to pick their own apples or buy them already harvested. Homemade donuts and tractor rides are available on weekends. Seasonal.
Discover One-of-a-Kind Wonders
Friendship Botanic Gardens, Michigan City – It’s almost too good to be true – a 105-acre retreat complete with nature trails, blooming gardens, a quiet lake, and a fishing stream right in the middle of the city. Children find a garden of their own where they can learn about plants and flowers and enjoy the playground equipment. The Gardens offer special events and concerts too.
Lakeside Lavender and Herbs, LaPorte – Ahhh, the scent of lavender! Don’t miss a visit to this farm that offers fresh and dried lavender plus plants to take home. You’ll also find culinary and medicinal herbs and a variety of handcrafted, spa-quality products, plus salves and tinctures. A Lavender Festival is on tap for the first weekend of July each year.
Shady Creek Winery, Michigan City – Enjoy award-winning vintages and shareable gourmet foods at this upscale winery with soaring ceilings inside and patio seating with warming fireplaces outdoors. Learn about the wines in the tasting room, and shop for unique gifts and vino in the facility’s wine shop. Many of the wine names reflect Shady Creek’s location near Lake Michigan, such as Sandy Feet and Riptide.
Get Your Fill at Farmers Markets
Farmed & Forged, LaPorte, Monroe & State Streets, 11am-3pm, Sundays, May 28-Oct in 2023 – Curated by The Collective, this hyper-local producers-only craft farmers market features local farmers, artisans, restaurants, breweries, nonprofits & more! All items are farmed or handcrafted within a 100-mile radius of the market. Nestled in the heart of La Porte’s historic downtown, the market is within walking distance of several local shops & restaurants.
Michigan City Farmers Market, Michigan City, 8th & Washington streets, 9am-noon, Saturdays, May 6-October 28 in 2023 – Area growers bring their fruits and vegetables in an array that changes as the seasons progress. Amish farmers from nearby areas sell their homegrown goods, as well as their famous home-baked pies and cookies. Other vendors offer everything from flowers and organic herbs to candles and soaps.