Farmer John’s Pumpkin Patch is open
Published 10:09 am Wednesday, September 24, 2014
By Jenae Hackensmith, Austin Daily Herald
CORNING — For 26 years, Farmer John’s Pumpkin Patch has been putting smiles on faces and giving people a taste of farm life.
“You almost need to feel it,” Farmer John Ulland said. “We’re not like a pumpkin patch that you see anyplace else.”
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Farmer John and his wife, Jan, started Farmer John’s Pumpkin Patch, at 90537 273rd St. northwest of Austin in Freeborn County, unintentionally in the 1980s after a friend wanted to bring his grandchildren to see the pumpkins that Farmer John planted to control weeds. The Ullands started selling pumpkins to area stores, mostly to get rid of them. Through word of mouth, others started to get interested in seeing the farm.
Twenty-six years later, the pumpkin patch is going strong, and the Ullands have added to the experience.
“We’re here to offer a good experience,” Ulland said. “We’re just here so that people can enjoy.”
“Memories,” Jan Ulland added.
The farm features wagon rides, antique farm equipment, animals — dogs, cats and chickens — broom corn, gourds, and about eight acres of pumpkins. The pumpkin patch is family-friendly and has options for children’s entertainment, although John Ulland said the children are drawn to one specific area the most.
“The kids like the silo; that’s where they play the most,” Ulland said.
There are also games and learning opportunities inside the barn, and groups can make reservations to tour the pumpkin patch. Groups of children from area preschools and schools also show up to learn about the pumpkin patch.
“We entertain little ones and older ones,” Ulland said. “They start coming soon.”
This year, the patch features 37 different kinds of pumpkins, and Ulland said there are many options for people to decorate their yards. There are also opportunities for people to pick their own apples, pumpkins and raspberries.
There won’t be horse-drawn wagon rides this year. Instead, Ulland said they plan to pull the wagon with the tractor. There will also be scarecrow painting on Oct. 4, with Nel Zellar.
“We’ve got everything,” Ulland said.
This year, the Ullands added to the photo opportunities.
“We always have places for families to take pictures, and we’ve got some new settings,” Ulland said.
They have an old pickup-truck, an old tractor that’s been repainted and an old snowmobile sitting outside. But these aren’t the only things that draw families.
Families get a free pumpkin for every baby born after Oct. 15 of the current year.
“Young families, that’s an exciting thing for them, especially that first baby,” Ulland said. “It’s a nice experience for the families.”
Ulland said not only do newcomers show up, they also get visitors who have been there.
“We have a lot of return business,” Ulland said. “It’s a relaxed place to be. Our first customers are bringing their kids and grandkids. It’s a long tradition out here.”
The farm is open from noon to 6 p.m. every day through Halloween.