Just When We Thought Harvest Couldn’t Get Busier, We Opened a Pumpkin Patch
By Angela Dailey, Kansas Corn intern
Fall has always been a highlight in our family, as it of course is harvest time! Over the last couple of years my parents, Mike and Nancy Dailey, have been envisioning a new project. In 2018 they decided to open a pumpkin patch called Dailey Farms Pumpkin Patch.
Growing up I have always admired my parents’ aspirations to explore and grow within the community. They own and operate two businesses in Jefferson County and recently expanded into agritourism this past year. Our family lives in the small town of McLouth, Kansas where we farm. In addition, about 11 years ago, they opened a feed and fertilizer store called Dailey Ag, LLC in Oskaloosa. It took off, expanding in many ways in which we are now extremely thankful for.
Farming has always been our way of life as a family. Our two main crops that we farm are corn and soybeans along with putting up hay. As producers, we realize how important it is to talk with consumers and have those one on one conversations to help educate others on what happens on the farm, as we know today there has been some misconceptions.
My mom attended an agritourism meeting a few years back and that is when she decided that it would be a perfect opportunity to open a pumpkin patch. She and my father envisioned the perfect place to have it would be at their old red barns on the outskirts of town.
“We envisioned this idea to educate and share with families, so they can enjoy the farm and the feeling of being out in the country” she says.
One of our main goals and aspirations is to create a connection with our community along with consumers. It is extremely important to us to connect with others to have those conversations and the pumpkin patch is a great fun way to do that. It has been quite a learning experience for my parents and our family within the last two years but has given us great memories along with opportunities. My mom says, “I remember taking my children to patches when they were in preschool and enjoyed watching my kids pick out their pumpkins.”
Dailey Farms Pumpkin Patch has become a family project where everybody has been involved including: my parents, my brother and sister, sister in law, and my cousins and aunts, which has made it a lot of fun.
At the pumpkin patch there are multiple fun fall activities for kids along with a corn maze, corn pit, and booths where you can buy homemade wreaths, breads, and jellies. The McLouth High School students are also extremely involved. The Entrepreneur students host a concession stand where they serve homemade baked goods and chili and the FFA kids attend to help with the wagon rides and picking up pumpkins. Kansas Corn has also provided us with five educational signs to go with our corn maze to help maze goers understand a little more about the crop side of our business. The pumpkin patch has been a fun project that has brought our community together and will hopefully continue to grow and educate others.
There are many future action plans that we envision to one day make happen. The last two years have been a learning curve for our family but, we have loved every minute of it. We hope to continue to grow and find fun ways to educate consumers about our passion and livelihood of farming.
My mom says, “I really want this to be my retirement plan. I would love to expand the pumpkin patch and incorporate wood projects and someday offer Christmas weekends with wreaths and trees.”
It has been such a great experience so far and we love seeing everybody out at the pumpkin patch enjoying it just as much as we do.
To learn more about agritourism in Kansas visit https://www.travelks.com/industry/agritourism/.