Jason Jackson grew up on a farm across town from the farm he would eventually own. After joining the military and performing a tour of duty in Iraq, he met with the original farm owner, a veteran himself of World War II, who was looking to sell.
Once it became the Jackson Family Farm in 2009, the Jacksons grew crops and a pumpkin patch, and raised cattle. Because Jackson taught at Madison Elementary School near Middletown (he is now the principal), he and his wife started opening the farm to his students.
“We invited all 800 of our kids, and from there it grew into a small business,” Jackson said.
The main attraction at the Jackson Family Farm is called Farm Town. There are 25 pedal tractors where kids can shell a few ears of corn, then take it to the milling station, then the silo. At the silo, they’ll receive grain to feed the animals.
“We have horses, pigs, goats, cows,” Jackson said. “The animals will eat right out of your hand. The kids are literally inside the pens.”
PHOTOS: Fall on the Farm at Jackson Family Farm in Madison Township
There are also hayrides, pumpkin picking, a straw maze, and a pumpkin launcher that can catapult a pumpkin up to 1,800 feet. Kids can shoot them into the pasture and watch the cows eat whatever’s left. There’s also a hay barn featuring slides for kids, bundles of hay for kids to climb on, and a hay bridge. The barn that houses the corn box is similar to a sandbox only much larger and holds corn instead of sand.
The corn maze is small and family-friendly. In other words, it’s not difficult to navigate. “Our (activities) are meant for 3-8 year-olds,” Jackson said. “It’s miserable to be lost in a maze with four kids who are done.”
“The emphasis is still on education,” Jackson said. “It’s more for the kids, more of a learning experience. That’s what makes us different. It’s an interactive experience where you can play ‘farmer for the day.’ That’s rarer now because farming has become so commercialized.”
Best Time to Go?
The farm is open on Saturdays and Sundays, and Jackson said around noon is their slowest time of day.
Masks are recommended, not required. “It’s a 160-acre farm,” Jackson said. “So, it’s easy for people to social distance.”
Places to Eat Nearby
The Jackson Farm is located near downtown Middletown, which features the usual fast-food and casual dining restaurants. There is also a bed and breakfast called Cascade Lakes. There is also food at the farm. “We have biscuits and gravy,” Jackson said. “And pulled pork that comes from our own animals.”
How to Go
What: Jackson Family Farm
Where: 6760 W. Alexandria Road, Middletown
When: Through Oct. 25, 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Saturdays, noon-5 p.m. Sundays
More Info: www.facebook.com/jacksonfamilyfarmmadison