Saint Joseph, MI US 49085
The Farm Fresh 5k and 1 mile is a fun trail run on Saturday, September 30 at Gast Family Farms. We are located at 5165 Lincoln Avenue, St. Joseph, MI.
The new race name this year reflects our growing family farm. The race started several years ago with just our family and friends as the Grape Stomp 5k as part of our very large family getting together for our annual family "grape juice weekend," where we would gather at the farm and make homemade grape juice for family and friends. As most of us are avid runners, we incorporated a fun run into the annual weekend, which slowly expanded into this public fun run. The farm has also expanded, as Farmers Scott & Jenna opened their farm stand in 2021 and then their retail farm store in 2022, growing and selling fresh local produce for the community.
This run still retains its informal roots - there will be t-shirts, homemade medals, grape juice, snacks, and farm tours for the very low price of just $10 per participant. Not only that, $9 of your $10 registration fee is donated to a local community organization! Plus, it's a beautiful time of year to be in Southwest Michigan at the farm.
Please note that this is a fun run type race, through farm fields, with a made-up-just-days-before route that will have a lot of twists and turns. We may rustle up some prizes for our top overall runners BUT please show up to run or walk for fun regardless! Also, we will try again this year to give you a race time, but definitely keep your expectations low - Lisa is 0/2 on managing to properly time this race. (We do this because it's a lot of fun to put on each year, not because we're really good at race directing!)
Race fees ($9 of your $10 fee) will be donated to the Lakeshore Lions Club. The Lions Club is a great non-profit doing good things in our local community like donating items to the Emergency Shelter in Benton Harbor, funding a local scholarship, and organizing community events such as the annual Easter Egg hunt and the popular Car Show in Stevensville. Our family will also match funds raised from race fees up to $500 total.
RACE DAY SCHEDULE - 9/30/23
- 8:00 to 8:30 - Packet Pickup in the Driveway
- 8:30 - 5K Starts
- 8:40 - 1 Mile Starts
- 9:00 to 10:00 - Snacks and Farm Tour
- 10:00 - Farm Store Opens
T-SHIRT ORDER CUT-OFF: Register before Saturday 9/16 to ensure you get a t-shirt. We'll order a few extras, but no guarantee!
CANCELLATION POLICY - If you can't attend for any reason, we do not offer refunds - this is a fundraiser for a non-profit. Basically, you did a great thing as a good human and donated to the Lions Club. You can, however, pick up your t-shirt at the farm store within 2 weeks of the race if you cannot attend.
Race Contact Info
If you have any questions about this race, click the button below.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can I bring my dog?
We won't kick you out, but we don't really recommend it. We know that's not a great answer for our pet friends, but we're trying to think of safety first, for all of our guests in attendance. There is often small wildlife around our farm that dogs tend to love to chase more than they love rules about sitting and staying e.g. rabbits, mice, woodchucks, birds, etc.
If you are spectating and really wish to bring your dog, then for the safety of all of our friends, we'd ask you to ensure that your dog is both super friendly and leashed at all times. If you're super sad about leaving your puppy at home, we have two old sleepy farm dogs that you can pet in their absence!
Can I bring a stroller?
You can and are encouraged to if you'd like to spectate. The race itself will not be stroller friendly, unfortunately, since it's through farm fields. If you have some kind of all-terrain monster truck stroller, you are free to try the race. But we've heard that babies themselves aren't very reliable helpers when you need some assistance pushing the stroller out of a rut a mile out into the field somewhere. Plus, they are terrible navigators.
Can I bring my kid?
Sure, but if they are under 9 years old, think very hard about perhaps running with them. We love kids but please don't lose them here.
The race course will be marked but kids could theoretically still get lost on our 100+ acre farm which is surrounded by other farms. Particularly if your kid is the kind that loves picking daisies in t-ball (no judgment, this was a lot of us) or gets lost in their thoughts (also no judgment, we're those people, too) - maybe pair them with a buddy runner (such as yourself, or their watchful friend or sibling) who will get them through the course.
Can I show up to race without registering?
We love you all, so we put this on for you, but please register. And if registration is already closed and you're reading this, feel free to reach out and ask if we can sneak in just one more person and I might re-open registration just for you.
BUT please don't show up to run without registering. Spectators, however, are always welcome - come casually sip grape juice, snack on some cookies and shout farm puns (YOU'RE DOING GRAPE!) at runners and walkers. It's just really important from a race perspective that (a) we limit the size of the race due to the limited space and volunteers that we have and (b) we can keep track of everyone to make sure no one gets lost in the field.
Again, we do this because it is a lot of fun to put on, not because we're skilled race directors. (Fun Fact: We're unskilled race directors.)
What's the course look like?
Farmland. The actual course depends on whatever we decide a couple of days out from the race. Grapes will be either ready or close to ready, so we have to take into account any harvest activity going. No one wants to run into a grape combine!
Consider the course map surprise to be part of the fun and we promise to mark the course with even more terrible farm puns this year.
Is it going to be held rain or shine?
Yes. Even when you come from a family of 9 kids, putting on a race is a lot of work so we don't want to postpone. We'll cancel if we absolutely need to, but if it's raining, it will just be more slippery and therefore more fun, right?
Do we get a farm tour?
Yes! Once everyone finishes their race, we'll do the tour. No one gets left behind! But, plan on a walking tour. It's not a super long walk, and maybe it will be a nice cool down from your race. Maybe by next year we'll fix the old trailer so you can have a nice hay ride. Until then, it's about a 15 minute walk around with the highlights of the farm along with some farm history. (The farm has been in our family for five generations!)
Will your farm store be open?
Yep! Feel free to stop by the farm store after the race. On September 30 we should have produce, pumpkins, squash, maple syrup, honey, and fall decor (flint corn, corn stalks).
Why are you charging this year?
It's surprisingly expensive and time consuming to put on a race (t-shirts! medals! cookies! juice! course markings! posters!) and we'd love for those who register to have an incentive to show up. Instead of collecting a race fee to offset our costs, we'd rather donate that race fee to a good cause. Farmers Scott & Jenna are both part of the Lakeshore Lions Club and they do good things in the community. So, for a small race fee of $10, exactly $9 of that $10 (after RunSignUp gets a cut) goes directly to the Lakeshore Lions Club as a donation.