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Life on the Farm at Walters Pumpkin Patch Located in Burns, Kansas.


How it all started


She was a city girl and Carroll brought her home to his family farm. She couldn’t drive a tractor and didn’t know a thing about cultivating a field. She did, however, work for a greenhouse nearby. In the 1980’s, the owner of the greenhouse asked if she would want to grow miniature pumpkins because they were all the rage in florist designs. They only made $583 in the first year on that patch of mini pumpkins, but it was a start.


The motto for the Walters –be first, better, or different. They frequently see lots of good ideas on other farms, but they work to make it their own. They are either the first to do something, or they make it the next level better, or innovate so the attraction/offering is different and original.


That once small pumpkin patch has now turned into a full-fledged agritourism destination with 70 acres of attractions and 30 acres of homegrown pumpkins, squash and gourds.



What is one of the biggest challenges you have faced?

Because we are rural, we have to work harder to do marketing and advertising so people will drive to our facility. We also have to develop ways to keep them on the site for longer.



Name something you are most proud of developing or cultivating in your operation?


I love value added products. Years ago, I wanted to do a pumpkin salsa with chunks of pumpkin. After perfecting the recipe, I then wanted a pumpkin shaped jar – what a great marketing tool! In looking to obtain a mold, a glass manufacturer in the US said it would cost $30K to create. Carroll had a niece who works as a clothing designer, and she offered to check with some of her overseas contacts. She found someone to make the mold MUCH cheaper, and we now offer a variety of pumpkin products in the world’s only pumpkin shaped glass jar.



What piece of advice would you want to give yourself when you were just starting out?


We should have been in a group like NAFDMA from the start. We wish we had attended convention when we first started growing pumpkins instead of waiting until 2003. We would have been so much farther ahead with ideas and innovations had we started the learning process earlier. NAFDMA is on a roll and our industry is looking bright.



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