Hometown Farmer - Hoefling's Pumpkin Patch & Corn Maze
It's a Halloween tradition near Marcus, IA: Hoefling's Pumpkin Patch & Corn Maze.
You can always take a trip through the corn maze to see the old building where it all began, 21-years-ago.
And, like the gourds growing all over the farm, Geralyn and Alan's pumpkin patch has really grown, too.
"We probably had 10 hills, maybe, probably three varieties of gourds," said Alan, remembering when he and his wife started the patch. "Now we have three-and-a-half, four acres of pumpkins."
There are 25 varieties of pumpkins and 70 varieties of gourds growing these days.
You can see'em all when you go on a hay ride, like the wolf pumpkin and the huge stem growing out of its top.
"These you can carry on the stem," said Geralyn. "Most of the time we tell'em not to carry them by the stem."
Just before the spooky ol' house on the hay ride trail, there's a bee hive.
The busy bees help the pumpkins pollinate.
"So the last three years we've bought our own bees," said Geralyn. "The plus side is we get our own honey now, too!"
The dry weather this summer didn't hurt the pumpkins, either.
"The pumpkins seem to like that dry weather better than the wet weather," said Geralyn. "When it's too wet, I think it tends to vine out better and it keeps the bees away. You need the bees to pollinate."
You can take a trip to the past and see some farming antiques at the patch, too, like an old corn sheller.
The Hoefling's grow Indian corn, Broom corn, even a little wheat!
Over more than two decades a lot of families have made a trip to the Hoefling's a tradition at the beginning of the holiday season.
"We had a parent come one day, and I remember her, and she said, 'you know, I came from the time I was little, and now I'm bringing my daughter,'" said Geralyn.
Any family is welcome to start a tradition of Halloween fun.
The Hoefling's have lighted night-time corn maze gatherings, as well as spooky corn mazes later in the year.
If you're interested, please visit: facebook.com/TheHoeflingPumpkinPatch/
If you know of a farmer you'd like to nominate to be featured on "Proud to be a Hometown Farmer," please email Jake at: firstname.lastname@example.org.