Jucker Farm: Fruit Picking, Pumpkins

This fun tourist farm has lots of family attractions, especially in fall, including pumpkin sculptures, an apple tree maze, seasonal fruit picking, a big haystack for climbing, hammocks, a playground, and yummy food. It’s more of a lovely day in the country with yummy farm-fresh food than an authentic “farm” experience. Our favorite time to go is during pumpkin season, but Jucker Farm is nice to visit all year round, with lovely views of the lake and countryside and good food. It’s a lovely day out for the whole family.

Location: Zurich Region
Address: Dorfstrasse 23, 8607 Seegräben
Car: Parking: Rutschbergstrasse 383, 8607 Seegräben
GPS: 47°20’35.1″N 8°46’12.7″E
Train: 45 mins Zurich HB to Aathal then 1.3 km walk
Adult half-fare return about CHF 13
Open: all year, best in September for pumpkins
More info: www.juckerfarm.ch

Getting There

By car: Using the map below, drive to Seegräben, following signs to Jucker farm. There is a metered parking lot next to the farm: Rutschbergstrasse 383, 8607 Seegräben.

Overflow parking. If that parking is full (usually is on Wed afternoons or weekends), you can instead park at the Aathal train station (or simply take the train there): Gstalderstrasse 177, 8607 Seegräben. There is plenty of metered parking and sometimes the adjacent field is set aside for Jucker Farm visitors. But there is no bus that runs up to Jucker Farm. It’s a 1.3 km walk from the station to the farm; it took our group with several under 5’s about 30 mins.

On busy weekends, Jucker Farm sometimes provides a shuttle bus from the train station for CHF 5/adult. Check the website to see if the shuttle is running on the day you want to go.

Planning your day

You can spend as little as an hour at the farm and as long as six or more. I’ve gone just for lunch after visiting the nearby dinosaur museum. I’ve also gone at 5pm on a Friday evening and stayed for dinner. I’ve also stayed all day from 10am to 6pm. It all depends on your kids and how entertained they are by the farm. It’s best to go as early as possible and eat lunch early. It can get really crowded, especially on the weekends, especially in the cafe. But once you leave the main areas, it can be quite peaceful.

My favorite week to go is the first week of September, when the pumpkin sculptures are up, blueberries are ripe to pick and it’s still warm enough to swim in the lake. That makes for a full day of entertainment.

Pumpkin Season

The best time to visit is during pumpkin season, which starts around the first week of September and lasts through the middle of October. Each year they build pumpkin sculptures around a theme, like dinosaurs, fairy tales, Noah’s ark. In 2017, the theme is the forest.

Children are encouraged to spray these pumpkin carvings with provided spray bottles.

Here are some of the sculptures from years past…

They have a huge variety of pumpkins on display and thousands available for purchase. If you buy heavy pumpkins, they provide wheelbarrows to help you get the pumpkins back to your car. Of course, this only works if you parked in the nearby lot. You could also send someone back to get the car and come back to pick up your crew and load of pumpkins.

The pumpkins are so photogenic that I always take this opportunity to take a portrait of my kids and these are some of my favorites pics each year. So here’s just a little remind to have your kids wear cute clothes and to save dessert as a bribe for sitting still for a short photo session.

Cafe & Farm Store

They have a self-service cafe, where the food is not fancy but usually very tasty. During pumpkin season, they always have a super delicious pumpkin soup and rotating seasonal dishes like curried pumpkin or pumpkin ravioli. There usually have pasta with bolognese sauce, which the kids typically eat. There is a large salad bar and dessert bar, with several pumpkin desserts.

They have hot food on a steam table during lunch 11:30-14:00. They also serve dinner on Th-Sun from 18:30-21:00, where they offer grilled entres and meat & sausage to grill yourself on a fire they maintain. I don’t think they have the steam table at dinner. Outside those times, they are always serving cakes and drinks.

Our first stop is always the freshly pressed apple juice. You can simply grab a plastic bottle to fill and drop change in the Kasse box. Or you can pay for the juice in the cafe and then go get your bottle. Beware the bees which swarm around any juice, so you have to keep your bottle closed and cups covered. You can see one of my simple lunches: apple juice, pumpkin soup, pumpkin bread and pumpkin berliner donut – super yum!

We also love the flavored pumpkin seeds with free samples. Oooooo, these are good, especially the chocolate and cinnamon ones. Make sure to try some of these. They have a large farm shop (that seems to change locations every couple years), with produce from the farm and other locally made food products like sausage, cheese, yogurt, oils, jams, etc.

Next to the cafe, there is outdoor seating with a playground.

There is more seating on the other side of the cafe, under the trees with a view of the lake.

Picnicking is not allowed in either of these areas. If you brought a picnic, better to move down near the haystack at the far end of the farm.

Amusements for the Kids

For the last few years, they’ve had a big haystack to climb on and hammocks, which the kids use as swings. It’s surprising how much fun the kids can have on these simple amusements.

Apple Tree Labyrinth

There are three apple tree labyrinth/mazes, which are a nice break from the busyness of the farm. You must pay CHF 5/person (under 6 free) to visit the apple mazes, payable at the kiosk or at a coin machine at the mazes. This fee includes a free apple for each person.

You are encouraged to walk the mazes barefoot to increase the meditation effect of wandering. There is also a barefoot path, with various textures for the tactile experience.

My kids are old enough that I can let them run wild through the mazes and catch up with them eventually. But for little ones that might wander off or get scared by themselves, you’ll need to stay close so they don’t get lost in the maze where you can’t easily access them. The first two mazes are not difficult, but the third one is tricky and I was stuck in there for over 30 minutes one time (there are emergency exits, but I was determined to find my way out the hard way).

Each year there is a different activity in the maze. The last couple years, they had a sort of treasure hunt, where you had to find different stations inside the maze where you can stamp your map. You turn in the completed map for a chance to win a prize. You can usually pick up the map at the entrance to the apple garden area.

Fruit Picking

You can pick fruit during the various picking seasons: strawberries, cherries, raspberries, blackberries, apples. Ask at the cafe or store what’s available for picking. It seems they change their policy every year. Last time we went, we paid a fee per person to enter the picking area (also includes the apple tree mazes); it was 6CHF/adult and 3CHF/child 6+. You can eat fruit while picking and pay per kilo for anything you take home in one of the provided boxes.

Blueberry picking has been our favorite because it was the easiest fruit to pick for kids. Most other fruit (like cherries and raspberries) is often too high on the trees for kids to reach since all the low-hanging fruit has already been picked. We’ve also picked strawberries in June, cherries in July, and raspberries in September. You can also pick apples, usually in September, but they’ve never been ripe when we’ve gone.

Swimming

On a hot day, it’s always nice to walk down to the lake and cool off a bit. It’s often much hotter at Jucker Farm then elsewhere in Zurich. So I always bring our swimsuits just in case and every time we end up in the water. You can wade around or bring your swimsuit and swim out to the diving platform and other floats. The water starts very shallow, which is good for little kids. But it also can be slippery as there are a lot of rocks with moss.

To get to the lake, walk towards the lake past the haystack to the little dirt path. With the cherry trees on your left, follow it a few meters until you reach a grassy field on your right. There should be a sign pointing right, down toward the lake. Just follow the path down the hill all the way to the lake. There’s a changing room, shower, and portable toilet next to the lake. There is also a grassy lawn a bit above the lake (shown right below), which always has the sun and is a good place to dry off.

Biking around the lake

If you want to make a full day of it, you can walk around the lake or bring your bikes and bike around the lake. On bikes, it takes about an hour and the path is on trails and lightly used roads. Read this post for more details.

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2 comments

  1. Dear Tanya,

    Let me start by saying that this is a long overdue comment. Through your blog's detailed information and wonderful tips you have given me and my family so many fun moments, that I feel ashamed I am writing here for the first time after years of following your blog. Thank you for your work! Because of you, my husband and I took our boys to Jucker Farm last week and we had a great time. Again, thank you!

  2. I stumbled upon your blog four years ago when I moved to Switzerland. We are now back state side. This was one of my most favorite places to visit. We sure do miss it. Nothing comes close here in Kansas City. Your posts are awesome. I have three kids and we did a number of them. Thanks for sharing,

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