Jonamac rises with fall

By Deanna Frances

Owners of Jonamac Orchard are prepared for another fall season with renovations.

The orchard has opened a kettle corn barn where fresh kettle corn and apple cider slushies are made on the weekends. Owner and manager Kevin McArtor said there is something for everyone at Jonamac.

“There’s apple picking, activities for kids … the corn maze, and our bakery and kettle corn barn,” McArtor said.

The orchard’s country store sells small home décor items, jellies, jams and more. The bakery offers fresh homemade goods like apple donuts, cider and apple butter.

“[For the kids] we have the jumping pillow, the apple train and the barnyard … there’s also the apple cannon,” McArtor said. “We also have hayrides, and apple and pumpkin picking.”

McArtor said the haunted corn maze is the most popular attraction for students and young adults.

“The haunted corn maze starts the first weekend in October,” McArtor said. “The college kids all come out for it.”

Since family interaction is an important aspect of the orchard, Kevin McArtor’s nephew-in-law, Mike Spychal, works at Jonamac. Spychal believes family businesses are important, and making other families happy through his hard work makes him proud to have married into the business.

“I grew up in a family business, too,” Spychal said. “I think it promotes hard work even at a young age. When my wife and I got married in May, we decided to work here. We would like to raise a family in a family business.”

Jonamac Orchard is open seven days a week for apple picking and the country store. Activity hours vary.

“I love that there’s lots of different activities,” said NIU alumna Erin Eickman, of DeKalb. “And I love the apples.”

Jonamac Orchard, 19412 Shabbona Road in Malta, is a family-oriented orchard that was opened in 1974 by Stan and Katie Johnson. When they retired and sold the orchard to the McArtor family, the orchard gained its name of Jonamac. The orchard has been passed down two generations of the McArtor family in the past 30 years.

The orchard opened for the McArtor’s 29th season on the first weekend of September and is open until the end of November.