SPRINGFIELD — Illinois Comptroller Judy Baar Topinka recently saluted Jonamac Orchard of Malta on 30 years of agritourism promotion, and applauded its contribution to Illinois agritourism.
As part of the Office of the Comptroller’s Agri-Tourism Day at the Illinois State Fair in Springfield, Topinka presented Agriculture leaders from throughout the state with proclamations celebrating their achievements and continuing dedication. Topinka specifically congratulated the three generations of McArtor family members in attendance: Mary Lynn McArtor, Denice McArtor, Jenna Spychal, and Max and Jake McArtor.
“It is incredible to have Jonamac Orchard continue to support agriculture through this initiative year after year. What a great tradition,” Topinka said. “Operations like Jonamac Orchard go a long way in educating the public and promoting tourism for our state, and I thank the many people who work so hard to make it happen.”
The first apple trees were planted at Jonamac in 1974 by Stan and Katie Johnson. When they retired, Jerry and Mary Lynn McArtor purchased the orchard and the 1984 harvest season was operated under the name Jonamac Orchard, a combination of the names Johnson and McArtor.
By 1992, the orchard had outgrown its little store, so a new processing shed and store were built. The McArtor family continued to expand, adding acres and putting an addition on the store in 2008. In 2012, the family purchased an adjacent 65 acres, and the orchard now grows more than two dozen varieties of apples on more than 10,000 apple trees.
Jerry and Mary Lynn’s son Kevin and his wife Denice came into the business in 1993. Jerry and Mary Lynn’s granddaughter Jenna and her husband, Mike Spychal, started working full-time at the orchard in 2012.
The orchard began its themed corn maze in 2000. Each year, it adds more activities and events, including a barn yard activity area, apple train, apple launcher, petting zoo and pony rides.