From an infant’s first steps to a child’s joy-filled smile, the staffs of Pettit Creek Farms and Pumpkin Patch Farm consider themselves blessed to offer memory-making experiences each fall.
“Last weekend we had a family visit from Florida,” said farmhand Andrea Erwin, whose parents own the Pumpkin Patch Farm in Adairsville. “They didn’t come up here, of course, just to visit our farm, but they were passing through. And we were definitely happy to have out-of-staters. We have a lot of people from the Atlanta area come. We have people from Alabama and the Chattanooga area. Last weekend, I had a family tell me that they have been here for the last 13 years. We had a couple — they actually are missionaries — and they met another missionary couple here at the farm. They take a picture at the same time in the same place that they met every year.
“... Just being a part of so many families building those memories is really important and satisfying to us. ... Last year, my two most memorable moments were out in the pumpkin lot we had an engagement and then a child took his first steps.”
Situated at 230 Old Dixie Highway, N.W., Pumpkin Patch Farm is open to visitors during the week in October from 9 a.m. until noon and the weekend from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Admission, which is $7.50 plus tax, covers a wide range of activities, such as the animal barnyard, hayride, stick horse corral, pumpkin ring toss, hay maze and John Deere Pedal Tractors. The farm also features a wide selection of pumpkins that are grown on the working farm, such as white miniature and heirloom varieties.
Like Erwin, Pettit Creek Farms owner Scott Allen also delights in the opportunity to create gleeful moments for young visitors. Along with its Pumpkin Pickin’ Patch, the 80-acre farm’s Pumpkin Fest features a hayride, corn maze, petting zoo, pony and camel rides, and Euro-Bungy.
“[At Pettit Creek Farms], we’ve got reindeer,” Allen said. “We’ve got camels. We’ve got zebras. We’ve got African watusi cattle. It’s just much, much more than just a pumpkin patch.
“... When they’re feeding the animals, and you can see their eyes just light up — that really brings a lot of joy to you. You can see [children smiling] all over the farm, but when they’re doing the hayride and when the animals come up, and you see them feed them, you see them just light up.”
Located at 337 Cassville Road in Cartersville, Pettit Creek Farms’ Pumpkin Fest is open to the public 2 to 6 p.m. during the weekdays and from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturdays and 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Sundays through Nov. 1. Admission — $15 for adults, $12 for children and free for youth younger than 2 — covers the corn maze, exotic petting zoo and hayride.
“They’re coming from all over the metro-Atlanta area,” Allen said. “We have a [Facebook page], and it just keeps growing. We want to give them a dose of reality, so they know where bacon actually comes from, where ... their crops are [grown]. [We want to show] just a different way of life that’s just about lost because so many people are so urban.
“We live off the land. We don’t have outside jobs. We just live and work here on the farm, and we raise animals just like our grandfathers did for the last 10,000 years. ... [Children today are] so far removed from their food source. They have no concept of reality any more. ... [Here, it’s about] learning and seeing and doing.”
With autumn in full swing, Bartow County Extension Coordinator Paul Pugliese said agritourism operations like the two Bartow sites are dotting the landscape across north Georgia.
“Agritourism is basically an opportunity for people to get out and learn more about the farm,” Pugliese said. “I think with the metro-Atlanta area coming into this area more and more, we have a lot of growth and a lot of people who want to get outside the city and experience nature and experience farm life. So there’s lots of local farms that will do various types of agritourism, everything from hayrides and bonfires and cookouts and picking your own pumpkin. ... There’s a lot of you-pick vegetable farms now — strawberry farms and blueberry farms and that sort of thing. They are becoming more popular.
“It’s one of those things where they’re trying to draw people during seasonal holidays and that sort of thing. So obviously Halloween is a big draw. ... We’re going to see more [agritourism] probably in our area,” he said, looking toward near future. “That’s a growth industry for farming and agriculture. Usually it’s your smaller farms that maybe are looking for some supplemental income. So they may not rely solely on agritourism as their only source of income, with the exception of ... Pettit [Creek] Farms. They’re geared toward [that]. ... But some of your smaller farms in the area, you’re going to see more of them picking that up just as another way to supplement their income.”
For more information about the Pumpkin Patch Farm, call 770-773-2617 or visit http://www.pumpkinpatchfarm.net. Further details on Pettit Creek Farms can be obtained online at http://www.pettitcreekfarms.com or by calling 770-386-8688.
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