Contributed by Deena Thomas
(BASTROP) Thousands of people will head to the Round Top/ Warrenton communities at the end of September through the first weekend in October for the Fiftieth Annual Fall Round Top Antiques Festival. Interior decorators, weekend junkers, antique collectors, import lovers, and people-watchers will embark upon a shopping spree covering acres of treasures, food, and musical talent.
But farther down Highway 159 towards La Grange The Jersey Barnyard, home of Blue Bell Creameries’ Belle The Singing Cow, offers diversion to the shopping hubbub and is a must-stop visit any time of the year but especially during the fall with several special events.
The Jersey Barnyard is located on a fourth-generation working Jersey dairy farm in the Frerichs family for 120 years. The family have made a living off the dairy business for 70 years and want people to realize the work and dedication that goes into the process making it possible for people to pour a glass of milk at the kitchen table. Twice a day, the Frerichs milk over 100 head of Jersey cows.
A visit at their Jersey Barnyard is “Where Family Meets Farm.”
“We want people to embrace nature and see what farm animals have to offer,” Barnyard owner Faith Frerichs said. “Animals have wonderful personalities and many people do not interact with animals at all much less farm animals, so fear and disconnect develop. Animals have unique qualities and we learn to respect them and treat them well on the farm.”
Guests at the Barnyard enjoy the wide-open space where kiddos and alike can run to feed the chickens, goats, rabbits, pigs, and ducks. Even more special than that, though, is having the opportunity to bottle feed a calf. Guided farm tours run several times a day where visitors take a tractor-pulled hayride through the farm to the dairy where everyone gets to milk a cow and see the dairy operation.
Once back at the Barnyard porch after the 1.5-hour tour, everyone can cool off in the Barnyard retail area and find that perfect gift for a special someone or pick out a souvenir of the day. From the farm store, one can purchase RAW milk or even more special is Faith’s famous raw chocolate milk from homemade chocolate syrup. Other items include organic food products like Texas Jersey cheese made from the Frerichs’ milk, syrups, honey, noodles, jams, and jellies. Unlike the grocery store, the farm store offers Frerichs’ 100% grass-fed beef, pastures pork, organic chicken and organic pastured eggs. And there’s nothing like wrapping up the tour with a delicious Blue Bell ice cream cone.
The Jersey Barnyard cows have been featured in 14 commercials and several advertising campaigns since 1991. When Blue Bell Creameries celebrated their 100th Anniversary, Frerichs Jersey cows were guests at the two-day event.
The fall is a special time at The Barnyard with several special events. At the end of this month, the barn area at The Barnyard will glow in hues of oranges, yellows, and greens as it is transformed into a beautiful pumpkin patch loaded with various and unusual varieties of pumpkins, gourds, corn stalks, mums, and fall bedding plants for purchase, creating the ultimate fall photo backdrop. Running throughout October, visitors can participate on Saturdays from 10-12 in pumpkin painting.
Surely when the weather finally turns cooler, The Barnyard will usher in fall with their Fall Farm Festival Saturday, Nov. 9, running the same day as the provide the course for the Third Annual Great Pumpkin Race in Texas, a 5K race on the course at The Jersey Barnyard, hosted by Sour Fish Events.
See the Jersey Barnyard website for details on the Great Pumpkin Run with participant packets picked up Friday night and runners at the starting line at 7 a.m. Saturday. For those not running, the Fall Farm Festival is an all-day event filled with face painting, games, live music, food booths, and a farmers/artisan market. Always evolving, The Jersey Barnyard recently added sessions of goat yoga and this fall there are plans for fitness workouts including pumpkins.
“Whether you are a kid or a kid at heart, there is something for everyone,” Frerichs said. “We love what we do, but it isn’t easy. We have had family heartbreak, crop struggles, and a farm fire. Our farm community and Barnyard friends are important to us and has definitely made a difference in our lives.”