The first apple trees were planted here at this Northern Illinois apple orchard in 1974 by Retired Air Force Colonel Stan Johnson and his wife, Katie. When Stan and Katie wished to retire, we purchased the orchard and the 1984 harvest season was operated under our new name – Jonamac Orchard, a combination of the names Johnson and McArtor. We are happy to be celebrating our 30th year in business this year, and hope for many more apple picking seasons to come.
Over the years we have 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 built a new processing shed and store on the site of 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 10,000 apple trees consisting of more than two dozen varieties.
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, it is great to have them here as a part of the family business.
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!
We have added more and more activities and events each year to increase the family oriented fun we offer to our visitors. This has included the Barn Yard activity area, Apple Train, Apple Launcher, Petting Zoo, Pony rides, Jumping Pillow and more.
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 and Mary Lynn McArtor, Kevin and Denice McArtor —