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Jackson-area families ignore weather, get a taste of fun on the farm
By Jackson Citizen Patriot staff
October 24, 2009, 10:54PM
Katie Rausch |
Skyler, 5, and her sister Anna Lyse Macomber , 6, pet a male Fennec Fox on Saturday at Meckley’s Flavor Fruit Farm in Cement City. The girls, who were spending the afternoon at the farm with their parents, were checking out some of the exotic animals Premier Animal Attractions, Inc. had brought for the day.
The weather might not have been ideal, but it didn't stop newly engaged Michael Cybulski and Lisa Newman from having a last bit of fall fun.
"We'll be out here, rain or shine," Cybulski said.
Cold temperatures and a little rain didn't deter other families, either. Several dozen made the trek Saturday to Meckley's Flavor Fruit Farm in Cement City.
By early afternoon, both storehouses were packed with people buying home-pressed cider, doughnuts and other fall treats. Outside, visitors roasted hot dogs over an open fire, and children pointed in awe at a lion cub, kangaroo and diminutive fox on display in a heated tent.
Ricky Macomber and his wife, Sarah, watched while his two daughters, Anna Lyse, 6, and Skyler, 5, fawned over the rare fox.
"They always have something different," Macomber said.
Meckley's often brings in attractions not found on other farms and orchards. Premier Animal Attractions Inc., a self-funded private zoo, provided the three unusual animals Saturday.
The Macombers once rode an elephant at Meckley's. This year, they had their picture taken with the 15-week-old African lion cub.
And building memories is what it's all about, said Steve Meckley, owner of Meckley's Flavor Fruit Farm.
Meckley took over from his father, who bought the 378-acre farm in 1956. He said seeing people enjoying his family's farm and its products makes the job worth it.
"It amazes me how entrenched we are in families' fall activities," He said. "We have people who've come here for four, five generations."
Meckley said the family atmosphere doesn't end with the visitors.
On Saturday afternoon, a crowd of customers watched while Meckley and a teenage employee poured apple mash onto a cider press.
Andrew Scoby, 17, was just getting the hang of pouring the mash in a square form so it would press the best. He's been working for Meckley for seven years.
"This is like my second home," Scoby said of the farm.
Scoby said he'd like to own his own orchard and bakery someday.
"I don't know, though," he said. "I don't want to take any business away from Steve."
Photos and story by Katie Rausch
Jackson Citizen Patriot