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Family farm celebrates 10 years

Cary Knight owns and operates Patch's Pumpkins and Honey Farm in rural Adel.Buy Photo
Cary Knight owns and operates Patch's Pumpkins and Honey Farm in rural Adel.

What once started out as a field filled with only a few pumpkins has now become one of the more popular pumpkin patches in the area.

Cary and Kim Knight, along with their four children, Zach, Chris, Jim and Kaitlyn, moved to Adel 10 years ago to start a landscaping business.

However, when the landscaping business did not pan out, the Knights decided to open up Patch’s Pumpkins and Honey Farm, located at 35588 L Lane in Adel.

The business has taken shape over the years and includes activities such as a 4- acre corn maze sponsored by Stine Seed, apple and pumpkin orchard, petting zoo, bounce house, pumpkin canon, and horse and tractor rides. The Knights also bottle their own honey and have hives in Dallas, Madison and Polk counties.

Activities on the farm are geared toward families, which Cary Knight believes make the farm stand out from the rest.

“Everything we do is family-oriented,” he said. “It’s all a harvest theme so nothing is very scary. It’s all positive and friendly.”

Charging a reasonable price is also what Knight believes attracts customers and maintains their fan base.

“I think the big thing is that we weren’t trying to be a company like Wal-Mart or Jeep when we first started 10 years ago,” Knight said. “We wanted to make the prices reasonable, and $5 is one of the cheapest prices for admission.”

Daily prices are $3 Wednesday through Friday and $5 on the weekend. The weekend price includes the pumpkin cannon show as well as horseback rides that local 4-H kids put on. All the money raised through the horseback rides are given to the 4-H’ers.

Although the farm is having its best season to date, Knight said other start-up pumpkin patches and orchards are making business more difficult.

“When we started 10 years ago, there were maybe eight to 10 orchards and pumpkin patches in Central Iowa,” Knight said. “What I mean by Central Iowa is from Adel to Grinnell and Osceola to Story City. This year when we mapped it there were almost 40.”

Due to the growth, Patch’s Pumpkins and Honey Farm has seen a drop in attendance.

“This last weekend we did set a record, but we usually only get a couple thousand visiting on the weekends,” Knight said.

Even with only a few thousand visitors, maintenance and upkeep is starting to become overwhelming, Knight said.

“This is a full-time job, and takes all year to plan what we are going to do for our next season,” Knight said. “Plus, it’s expensive even to open our doors. It probably costs us between $20-25,000 just to open up for the season.”

Even though Knight says he doesn’t know what the future holds for Patch’s Pumpkin and Honey Farm, he says upkeep on the farm is a “labor of love.”

“It’s great seeing the kids enjoy themselves out here,” he said. “Many of them don’t experience a farm on a daily basis so they have fun interacting with the animals and running around.”

Patch’s Pumpkins and Honey Farm will finish up their season this week and will be open from 10 a.m. until 6 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 24 through Sunday, Oct. 27.

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