Jonamac Orchard is a three generational family farm in Northern Illinois. Founder, Gerald McArtor, found a passion for growing apple trees after taking some Horticulture classes at Kishwaukee College down the road. He planted several trees at his house, and then he and his wife Mary Lynn purchased the farm from the Johnson family in 1984. Gerald decided to call the farm “Jonamac Orchard” a combination of the names Johnson and McArtor, and also a variety of apple grown on the farm.
Over the years our family has purchased additional acres to bring our total operation to 105 acres. By 1992, our little store was no longer big enough to serve the growing Chicago Area population, so we added a new processing shed and store onto the old building. We continued to expand as our business grew and completed a large addition to the store and indoor bathrooms in 2008. Each year more and more trees were planted as demand for our apples and apple picking grew. In 2012 we purchased 65 adjacent acres and planted 1,600 new trees, we now have over 20,000 apple trees consisting of more than thirty different varieties. (Some varieties are specifically for hard cider production and not available in our farm market).
To help us manage our growth and work load, we brought our son Kevin and his wife Denice into the business in 1993. They purchased the barn/house from us in 1996 and moved in with their sons Max and Jake. Our granddaughter Jenna and her husband Mike Spychal started working full-time at the apple orchard in 2012, and have become partners in the business as well. Jenna and Mike have now added the fourth generation to our family, with their daughter Amy, and son Cal (born during our 2018 season).
In 2000, we contracted with Brett Herbst, of The MAiZE, in Orem, Utah to assist us in the design of our first corn maze. Each year, we decide upon the design and other characteristics that we want in the maze and create a map. We then plant and cut out the maze each spring, and hopefully it will look like it is supposed to!
Each year our family works to improve our farm and try to add new things for our guests to enjoy with their families. This has included the Barn Yard activity area, Apple Train, Apple Cannons & Launcher, Pumpkin Cannon, Petting Zoo, Pony rides, Jumping Pillow and more. In the most recent years we have added wine and hard cider, as well as a Cider House for both sweet and hard cider production.
Our mission is to provide our visitors with a safe, clean, fun and memorable family fall experience. We hope you will bring your family out to visit us this harvest season!
– Jerry & Mary Lynn McArtor, Kevin & Denice McArtor, and Mike & Jenna Spychal