You could claim that “Indiana” is basically synonymous with “farming” and I wouldn’t really debate you. Of course, there is so much more to this state than just farms, but as a born and raised Hoosier* I can assure you there are an abundance of farms to choose from which you literally cannot miss if you drive outside of basically any city.
*Hoosier – a native of Indiana or someone who lives in Indiana. You can see my other Indiana posts here.
The perks of all these farms are idyllic landscapes, fresh produce in many a restaurant and store, and bountiful (get it…bounty…farms?!) options for agri-tourism – think winery visits, apple orchards, and my personal favorites, pumpkin patches.
I spent a lovely afternoon at one such spot called Spencer Farm with a few friends, and thought I’d share what you can expect. I would definitely recommend a farm visit for a casual fall afternoon. Even during Covid-times there are plenty of outdoor spaces and again, perks of being on the farm, lots of room to social distance.
Wine tasting at Spencer Farm
We started our afternoon at the winery with an extremely affordable $5 wine tasting. At Spencer Farm, the tasting experience is set up as follows: You make your first tasting selection at the counter when you pay and you receive four additional tokens to redeem for your next wine samples at your leisure.
There were three wines made on Spencer Farm’s property, plus about 8-10 other options for featured reds, whites, and roses.
I love a good red wine, and although I was a Moscato fan in my early college days, I now prefer my wines on the dryer side. My top favorites were the Cabernet Sauvignon and the Syrah. On the sweet side, I loved the Sweet Harvest Red. It felt a bit like drinking grape juice which is a bit dangerous because I really like grape juice.
There were two in our party of five who preferred sweet wines, while the the rest of us were somewhere in the middle-to-dry range. We all found one or two wines we liked, but we also found a few wines that we definitively disliked (which is rather uncommon for me as I’m not a picky wine drinker).
If you are a fan of wine slushies, they had a red and white version available too. It was getting a bit chilly for iced drinks in my opinion, but one in our party did enjoy the slushy he picked.
All told, this wasn’t a groundbreaking winery for us but we did end up buying two bottles of the Cabernet after our tasting to enjoy at our table before heading off to explore the rest of the grounds. Grapes aren’t exactly a classic Hoosier crop so the fact that the Spencer family who built this farm and winery is able to offer so many wines with their own grapes is pretty cool.
Take that review for what you will.
Who doesn’t love a good charcuterie board? Spencer Farm does.
If you do too, you can pick from one of their two pre-curated boards which include meats from Turchetti’s Salumeria, Amish country cheeses, Spencer Farm preserves & mustards, and crackers and bread.
If you want to DIY your charcuterie, head over to the farm store on the other side of the property.
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Spencer Farm Market Store
After our winetasting we went to the farm store to see what was on offer. There is a wide variety of farm fresh cheeses, caramel apples, apple butters, preserves, fudge, pies, ice creams, meats, and crackers-for the cheese – even some frozen fruits that were growing on the farm but no longer in season for picking fresh. Since you’re in Indiana, where Hoosiers are corn-aficionados, don’t skip the Kettle corn.
Spencer Farm also has a good supply of season items, including caramel apples, and candies. My sister was most intrigued by the set of wax fangs which she purchased for all of us to enjoy at the you-pick pumpkin patch.
If you’re looking for a Hoosier style souvenir, there are lots of patterned aprons, farm-style kitchen goods like colanders and cutting boards, mixes for dips and muffins, and local honeys and syrups that are perfect to bring back home with you.
You-Pick Pumpkin Patch
I found a good-sized pumpkin I like at the farm store and made my purchase there, but if you prefer to pick yours from the pumpkin patch directly, that is also a fantastic option. That is what my partner opted for and so we set off, driving a short minute down the farm to park and collect our great fall pumpkin.
After all the wine, I decided I was a bit too tired to walk the distance through the pumpkin patch and enjoyed a luxurious ride in my wagon,. Shoutout to my sister for “driving”.
The pumpkins cost $0.39 per pound which felt extremely reasonable and there was a huge selection so we had no issue finding a few beautiful pumpkins in a span of a few minutes.
Depending on the season, you can also pick your own produce of the following varieties:
- red raspberries
- sun flowers
- table grapes
- Christmas trees (Scotch pines + pre-cut Fir trees)
Sampling local produce grown from small farmers is an eco-friendly way to experience the Indiana culture and support small businesses! A win-win. I wrote a whole eco-friendly guide to Indiana if sustainability is a priority for you.
Read this next: Your Simple Eco-Friendly Guide to Indiana
Covid Precautions at Spencer Farm
Masks were required to enter the winery and the farm store but were not required if you were seated in doors in the winery barn.
There was hand sanitizer readily available too and their website explains their thorough cleaning process to keep clients safe.
I felt comfortable with the distancing indoors, but for those who would rather not risk it, there’s plenty of outdoor seating and wide open spaces to keep away from others.
Special Events at Spencer Farm
There was live music on the Saturday afternoon we visited and on several days during an average week. The Spencer Farm website explains you’re welcome to bring your own lawn chairs, and even snacks, if you want to hang out for a while! Just no booze outside.
Into yoga and wine? Check out their Sip N Shine yoga classes every other Thursday night. $15 gets you a spot in the class and a glass of wine.
Spencer Farm represents, to me, some of the best bits of Indiana. Family friendly properties with great home-grown crops, and an emphasis on sharing the land with the community.
It’s run by a local family, founded by Kyle Spencer in 1982 who realized his childhood dream of owning a farm. It began as “Spencer’s U-Pick” with strawberries as the main offering. Over the next few years, they added other crops and slowly expanded.
The market store was launched in 2008 and the winery is a pretty new development: the tasting room was developed and opened in 2019!
So, would I recommend Spencer Farm?
If you are a wine connoisseur looking for a place to sample the finest vinos, no. For everyone else, if you are someone who wants to spend a lovely afternoon on a farm, drink some decent wine, pick some pumpkins, and grab some snacks from the farm store – definitely.
Spencer Farm place was very family friendly, even inside the winery, and I enjoyed seeing a family with several small children who were loving the live music and dancing their hearts out. There were also a good variety of boardgames available if you want to settle in for the afternoon with your friends over a bottle or two of wine.
Perhaps one of the best parts are the affordable prices and the fact that this farm is located in Noblesville, not far away from central Indianapolis at all! If you are visiting Indiana and don’t have your own car, this would be one of the more affordable farm spots to visit by Uber or Lyft.
Read this next: The Ultimate Guide to Small Businesses in Downtown Indianapolis