Raising pumpkins is a family venture

Staff writer

The Brandon Unruh family knows the secret to growing great pumpkins, lots of water.

“They take a lot of water, more than you’d want to pay for,” Krisi Unruh said.

She said the last few years have been rough with the drought, and this year because of all the rain.

“We don’t have good soil that can handle all the rain up here, some of the pumpkins did not drain properly and almost drowned,” she said.

The family owns and operates a pumpkin patch outside Goessel called Papa’s Pumpkin Patch. They grow 20 varieties of pumpkins from the classic orange to green pumpkins, big and small pumpkins, and gourds.

“The size depends on the variety,” Unruh said. “We sell your plain medium orange pumpkin the most.”

Throughout the year, Kristi, along with her in-laws, husband, four children, and multiple grand children help tend to the patch and raise the pumpkins for the holiday season.

“It’s a big family effort,” Kristi said. “There’s always a bunch of us here and we have a lot of fun. Everyone plays some roll.”

The patch is the brain child of Kristi after taking her kids to Wal-Mart to pick out pumpkins to carve.

“I just didn’t want them to know that’s where pumpkins came from,” she said. “So the next year we started a small patch and each year it grew. We had some family and friends come out and pick pumpkins and they said you really have something going on here, so we decided to commit and open on a large scale.”

The family now cultivates five acres worth of pumpkins, and hosts school tours during the week, and is open to the public Friday through Sunday.

“We don’t charge an entrance fee, because we think it’s important for everyone to be able to experience picking a pumpkin from a patch,” Unruh said. “This way people can just buy what they want or can manage and everyone can have a pumpkin to carve.”

The patch also offers fun activities such as target shooting with a slingshot and air cannon, an play area including a slide and barrel swings, hayrack rides, and several animals to pet.

For more information on the patch visit http://papaspumpkinpatchks.com/index.html.

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