Pond Hill Farm.
At the point where M-119 elbows to the left, look right and you'll see the bark-covered two track next to the Pond Hill Farm sign. A farm straight out of a storybook, Pond Hill does a detour proud. A small pond full of chirping frogs, hungry trout and thick stands of cattails greets visitors first. Then come the greenhouses, brimming with rows of organic salad greens, fresh herbs and plants. A cluster of giant black locust trees stands sentinel outside, overseeing Pond Hill's growing garden harvest. And that's just along the driveway.
If you're lucky, when you reach the fence where the cows, goats, sheep, pigs, chicken and lone goose mingle, by some animal kingdom miracle, in perfect harmony, a green John Deere tractor will be idling nearby. That's the workhorse of the farm's other workhorse, 29-year-old manager Jimmy Spencer, a bright-eyed blur of a guy who talks fast and moves even faster. When his tractor's purring here, chances are good the front-end loader is filled with corn, cabbage and other homegrown health food he'll be tossing to his hungry animals before dashing off to tend his rows.
Explore the old barn turned picture-perfect farm store on site. Inside you'll find organic veggies, grains and meats; dried and fresh-cut flower bunches; and endless rows of the much-coveted glass-jarred chutneys and relishes made by Jimmy's mom, Sharon, who owns the farm with Jim Sr. Don't miss the hot pepper jelly. In season, you can pick strawberries and raspberries.
Farm stand open year round, Tuesday through Sunday, at 5581 Lakeshore Drive (M-119), five miles north of downtown Harbor Springs on M-119 just past Middle Road. 231-526-FARM, pondhill.com.
Lynda Twardowski is assistant editor of Traverse, Northern Michigan's Magazine.
Note: This article was first published in April 2006 and was updated for the web February 2008.