Archive for July, 2013

Kansas Agritourism on the Farm

There’s an undeniable truth that family farms are not what they used to be.   Thank goodness agritourism has come to Kansas and to our Kansas pumpkin patch, which is close to Wichita.  This picture of the original Walters’ farm doesn’t have the activity that it once had many years ago, but agritourism has provided a means to produce income from our land.   ( In this photo, the old grain elevator to the far left that Carroll’s father built in 1951 is now used for our Haunted Cannery during the month of October).

As all farmers think about or begin an agritourism adventure (such as our pumpkin patch) and providing entertainment and/or education for groups, it is a risk and takes a leap of faith.  We started with one 30×50 building that Carroll thought he was going to use as a shop all the while I knew we could have a gift shop “for just 6 weeks of the year”!   Organizations, such as NAFDMA, (North America Farmers Direct Marketing Association) “caught” us as we jumped off the proverbial cliff as we began our pumpkins/gourds specialty business and we’ve never had to look back.  NAFDMA is a wonderful group of North American farmers who are doing exactly the same thing as we are:  hosting visitors who want to come to the farm to purchase products and enjoy their time in the country.   These NAFDMA people share all their ideas, resources, and experiences to help others get started or advance their businesses.

For those of you who are wondering what we’re doing here at our pumpkin patch with the new boards going up….we are building a new gift shop with an entrance and exit.   Then we are adding onto the old gift shop for a wedding/reunion/company events building with a dressing room loft over the facility.   We have all the play areas to provide entertainment, but we needed a place so that we could hold weddings in the month of October.   We have more people asking for wedding facilities in the fall because we are a pumpkin patch, and previously we didn’t have any more private areas without the general public that we cater too during the fall.   This can only be a win/win experience for everyone!

So as we prepare for Pumpkin Fest 2013, we are so thankful for the recent rains that provide the moisture to grow our pumpkins.

SUMMER HAS COME TO KANSAS!

Life at our Kansas pumpkin patch agritourism facility is in the process of some major changes!   The pumpkin patch is the same,  but we’re changing the flow of our facility.  We’re building a new gift shop complete with an entrance and exit with several of both so we won’t have lines in which our customers  have to wait.   We’re so excited about that!   Driving clear from Wichita to visit our pumpkin patch….well, our visitors just shouldn’t have to wait to get to play!  The building which housed our gift shop in the past, will become the new wedding/events barn.   Air conditioning, heating, a dressing room in the loft….are just some of the additions we are planning here at the Walters farm/Walters Pumpkin Patch.   I don’t know how other pumpkin patches do it:   either they are much more organized than Carroll & I, or they have larger staffs throughout their seasons to get the work done.

The corn maze has been cut!   This year’s design, done by Precision Mazes of Lee Summit, Missouri, is an old silo with the momma cow and baby calf with a pumpkin.   Many visitors ask us what we do with all the leftover pumpkins at the end of our season.   After October 31st, we put cattle in on the fields, and within a week’s time, all the pumpkins have been eaten!    Easy cleanup!

The pedal car track has been moved!   YEAH!   Carroll knew that the reason the cars were being left “down in the trees” at our Kansas pumpkin patch was because the track was too long.   So there have been changes made.   The track is now out in the open by one of our jumping pillows, so no more walking back to the entrance!    A new little house will be added on the track to drive through!   What fun!

The HiStrikers have been a big hit already this summer.   Some recent wedding guests tried them out for us.   I do think we’ll be having them as a pay-to-play so one person doesn’t just stand there and try and try to ring the bell.   But we will have a prize for those who do!

Until next time…..we’re down in the patch!