The Grace Heritage Ranch 2016 Autumn Adventure will cover 17 acres on the farm’s property. It will be open from October 22nd to December 3rd, Saturdays from 10:00 AM to 6:00 PM and Sundays from noon to 5:00 PM. Private tours and field trips will be taken by appointment.
A family trip to the ranch
My boys and I recently had a unique opportunity to visit 160-acre Grace Heritage Ranch, neatly tucked away along winding roads in Willacy County, deep in the Rio Grande Valley. This was reminiscent of my childhood in Oklahoma where dirt roads and hay bales were part of the natural landscape, and hay rides and bonfires were inevitable on crisp, cool Friday nights starting in the early fall. And as we made our way to Grace Heritage Ranch early one morning, I was giddy with excitement as I pointed out the beautiful fields that seemed to blend into the prominent sky. We really couldn’t have expected what we were about to experience— a homesteading experience we will never forget.
I’d call it both a learning experience and an adventure. And my kids, well, they simply couldn’t get enough. I don’t know if it was the handling of the boa constrictor, the planting of the pumpkins, feeding “Daisy” the cow, milking a goat, petting a bunny, feeding the alpacas or chasing the chickens… they had plenty of stories to share with friends and family back home. Not only did they forget about their video games and electronics, they fully surrendered to Mother Nature and its beautiful creatures.
As we arrived to Grace Heritage Ranch, owner Brian Schalk graciously welcomed us to his ranch. His wife, Mary, also joined us as we discussed their journey to a simpler life and their noble calling to share their dream with the rest of the world. Originally from Wisconsin, Brian and Mary made their way to Texas in the 80’s; and, ultimately, their desire to go back to a simpler life was too strong to ignore. The Schalks are now committed to the land and self-sufficiency, including working the land, raising animals humanely, homeschooling their children and using traditional methods to cook and preserve foods. The family now includes their daughter and son-in-law, five sons, a daughter-in-law and a grandson. It’s a great joy for the Schalks to teach visitors the about the beauty and simplicity of living off the land and connecting with Mother Nature and its creatures.
Hands-on learning at Grace Heritage
It was a dream come true when, in 2013, they opened their ranch to the public for educational purposes. This includes a 2.5 hour guided tour, which is a great chance for the whole family to reconnect with nature. They welcome individuals and families, and also encourage groups from schools, home schools, businesses, retirement homes, and Winter Texan parks.
If you’re looking for a hands-on learning experience for yourself and the entire family, look no further. Your kids will have the unique opportunity to learn firsthand what it means to live off the land and appreciate a simpler life.
You can actively participate in spinning cotton into yarn, milking the goats, feeding the chickens, turkeys and alpacas, and also learn how to plant crops and work the land. During our visit, my boys learned how to plant pumpkins, preparing for the Fall that’s upon us. And, if you’re up for it, you can also pet and hold a boa constrictor that 17-year-old Matthew Schalk cares for as a pet.
Although the Schalks do not produce food for profit, you are able to purchase raw honey straight from the hive. In all, it was a sweet experience indeed!
From the owners
Return to a wholesome and healthy way of life! Visit our website to discover all the farmers markets the valley has to offer! Find fresh, valley-grown produce for you and your family, and support our local community’s farmers and producers!
And, just in time for fall…
In honor of the 50th Anniversary of one of the most beloved, quotable, and unforgettable Peanuts television specials of all time, It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown, Peanuts Worldwide and Grace Heritage Ranch are preparing a once-in-a-lifetime celebration!
Come join us at Grace Heritage Ranch for family fun at our first annual 2016 Autumn Adventure celebrating 50 years of It’s the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown. Shop the vendors for local produce and products, play games, take a hayride, explore the GHR homestead, visit the animals, and so much more!
Grace Heritage Ranch, located just north of Harlingen, values the Valley’s rich agricultural heritage and encourages you to support your neighbors at your local farmers markets!
Activities at Grace Heritage Ranch include:
Hay Bale Pyramids
Self-Guided Homestead Tour
Visit graceheritageranch.com for more information!