January 2019 - 32

FARM MARKET & AGRITOURISM
Cultivating pumpkins leads to expansion of business
By Lauren Moore
Farm Service Agency
Twenty-nine years ago, Helen Huitink
and her late husband, Dave, started
Pumpkinland, an annual event on their
farm in Orange City, Iowa, where people
can purchase autumn produce, take
a turn through corn mazes, and visit
farm animals. Known affectionately as
" Grandma and Grandpa Pumpkin, " their
farm has become a fall tradition for many
in their community.
The 160-acre farm has been in the
Huitink family since 1911.
" We have always grown corn and
soybeans, " Helen said. " Back in the
earlier days, we grew some alfalfa and
oats. We also milked cows here for many
years and raised hogs. "
An unexpected venture
While corn and soybeans still are grown
on the farm, the Huitinks grow more than
100 varieties of pumpkins, gourds and
squash each year.
" Our pumpkin business actually
started by accident, " Helen said. " My
husband had often grown pumpkins in
the garden when the kids were growing
up. In 1988, he set up a corn shock with
pumpkins around it by the edge of the
garden. Someone stopped to ask if we had
pumpkins for sale. "
In 1989, their three children, Sherry,
Kelly and Darren, grew pumpkins and sold
them off their front step. Moving off the
front step and into the garage, they grew
and sold more pumpkins year after year.
Realizing they needed more space, they
built a warehouse in 1996.
" That's when we really intentionally
began to grow the business. We put up our
warehouse, where we sell out of today, and
Helen Huitink and her late husband, Dave, have been affectionately known to the Orange City community as " Grandma and
Grandpa Pumpkin. " Photos: Pumpkinland
While Pumpkinland is only operational
took on crafters and bakers, " said Helen.
" We sold corn and soybean seed in the
spring and pumpkins in the fall. It worked
out very well. "
" We put up our
warehouse, where we
sell out of today, and took
on crafters and bakers. "
− Helen Huitink,
Pumpkinland
The farm experience
During the fall, the Huitinks host school
field trips to teach children how pumpkins
are grown.
" Many kids don't get a chance to ever go
on a farm, " Helen said. " They have no idea
what some of the farm animals look like or
how crops grow. We want to give them the
farm experience. "
for two months in the fall, planning for it
is a year-round effort - picking out seed
in the winter, planting in the spring, and
weeding in the summer.
" It's basically a year-round project for
me, " Helen said. " In the winter time we are
dreaming and scheming, coming up with
new ideas. "
The orange fleet
Just as she loves to watch her crops
grow, Helen's favorite part about fall is
seeing families return to Pumpkinland
year after year.
For almost three decades, pumpkins have
been an integral part of the Huitinks' lives.
Helen can even be seen driving around
town in an orange PT Cruiser.
" My husband searched for that car for
quite a few years and finally found it, "
she said. " He called it our date car. Since
then, we purchased an orange pickup
and an orange van, so we have three
orange vehicles. We called it our orange
fleet. After purchasing the third car,
Dave made the comment that we might
have just gone off the deep end. "
Working with USDA
To protect against market shortfalls and
provide a crucial safety-net, the Huitinks
enrolled their corn and soybeans in
the Agriculture Risk Coverage and Price
Loss Coverage programs.
With the Conservation Reserve
Program, Dave and Helen added
filter strips alongside a creek that
runs through the property to prevent
erosion. For a yearly rental payment,
producers enrolled in the program
remove environmentally sensitive
land from agricultural production
and plant vegetation that will improve
environmental health and quality.
These programs are administered
through USDA's Farm Service Agency.
For more information about USDA
programs and to find your local service
center, visit www.farmers.gov.
USDA programs helped the Huitinks
protect their crops and conserve
natural resources. Photo courtesy of
Pumpkinland. VGN
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January 2019

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of January 2019

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https://www.nxtbook.com/greatamericanmediaservices/VGN/march-2024
https://www.nxtbook.com/greatamericanmediaservices/VGN/february-2024
https://www.nxtbook.com/greatamericanmediaservices/VGN/vgn-digital-seed-guide-2024
https://www.nxtbook.com/greatamericanmediaservices/VGN/january-2024
https://www.nxtbook.com/greatamericanmediaservices/VGN/buyers-guide-2024
https://www.nxtbook.com/greatamericanmediaservices/VGN/december-2023
https://www.nxtbook.com/greatamericanmediaservices/VGN/november-2023
https://www.nxtbook.com/greatamericanmediaservices/VGN/september-october-2023
https://www.nxtbook.com/greatamericanmediaservices/VGN/july-august
https://www.nxtbook.com/greatamericanmediaservices/VGN/may-june-2023
https://www.nxtbook.com/greatamericanmediaservices/VGN/april-2023
https://www.nxtbook.com/greatamericanmediaservices/VGN/march-2023
https://www.nxtbook.com/greatamericanmediaservices/VGN/vgn-digital-seed-guide-2023
https://www.nxtbook.com/greatamericanmediaservices/VGN/february-2023
https://www.nxtbook.com/greatamericanmediaservices/VGN/january-2023
https://www.nxtbook.com/greatamericanmediaservices/VGN/december-2022
https://www.nxtbook.com/greatamericanmediaservices/VGN/buyers-guide-2023
https://www.nxtbook.com/greatamericanmediaservices/VGN/november-2022
https://www.nxtbook.com/greatamericanmediaservices/VGN/september-october-2022
https://www.nxtbook.com/greatamericanmediaservices/VGN/august-2022
https://www.nxtbook.com/greatamericanmediaservices/VGN/july-2022
https://www.nxtbook.com/greatamericanmediaservices/VGN/june-2022
https://www.nxtbook.com/greatamericanmediaservices/VGN/may-2022
https://www.nxtbook.com/greatamericanmediaservices/VGN/march-2022
https://www.nxtbook.com/greatamericanmediaservices/VGN/february-2022
https://www.nxtbook.com/greatamericanmediaservices/VGN/seedguide-2022
https://www.nxtbook.com/greatamericanmediaservices/VGN/buyersguide-2022
https://www.nxtbook.com/greatamericanmediaservices/VGN/january-2022
https://www.nxtbook.com/greatamericanmediaservices/VGN/december-2021
https://www.nxtbook.com/greatamericanmediaservices/VGN/november-2021
https://www.nxtbook.com/greatamericanmediaservices/VGN/october-2021
https://www.nxtbook.com/greatamericanmediaservices/VGN/september-2021
https://www.nxtbook.com/greatamericanmediaservices/VGN/august-2021
https://www.nxtbook.com/greatamericanmediaservices/VGN/july-2021
https://www.nxtbook.com/greatamericanmediaservices/VGN/june-2021
https://www.nxtbook.com/greatamericanmediaservices/VGN/may-2021
https://www.nxtbook.com/greatamericanmediaservices/VGN/april-2021
https://www.nxtbook.com/greatamericanmediaservices/VGN/march-2021
https://www.nxtbook.com/greatamericanmediaservices/VGN/february-2021
https://www.nxtbook.com/greatamericanmediaservices/VGN/seedguide-2021
https://www.nxtbook.com/greatamericanmediaservices/VGN/buyersguide-2021
https://www.nxtbook.com/greatamericanmediaservices/VGN/january-2021
https://www.nxtbook.com/greatamericanmediaservices/VGN/december-2020
https://www.nxtbook.com/greatamericanmediaservices/VGN/november-2020
https://www.nxtbook.com/greatamericanmediaservices/VGN/october-2020
https://www.nxtbook.com/greatamericanmediaservices/VGN/september-2020
https://www.nxtbook.com/greatamericanmediaservices/VGN/august-2020
https://www.nxtbook.com/greatamericanmediaservices/VGN/july-2020
https://www.nxtbook.com/greatamericanmediaservices/VGN/june-2020
https://www.nxtbook.com/greatamericanmediaservices/VGN/may-2020
https://www.nxtbook.com/greatamericanmediaservices/VGN/april-2020
https://www.nxtbook.com/greatamericanmediaservices/VGN/march-2020
https://www.nxtbook.com/greatamericanmediaservices/VGN/february-2020
https://www.nxtbook.com/greatamericanmediaservices/VGN/buyersguide-2020
https://www.nxtbook.com/greatamericanmediaservices/VGN/january-2020
https://www.nxtbook.com/greatamericanmediaservices/VGN/december-2019
https://www.nxtbook.com/greatamericanmediaservices/VGN/november-2019
https://www.nxtbook.com/greatamericanmediaservices/VGN/october-2019
https://www.nxtbook.com/greatamericanmediaservices/VGN/september-2019
https://www.nxtbook.com/greatamericanmediaservices/VGN/august-2019
https://www.nxtbook.com/greatamericanmediaservices/VGN/july-2019
https://www.nxtbook.com/greatamericanmediaservices/VGN/june-2019
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https://www.nxtbook.com/greatamericanmediaservices/VGN/april-2019
https://www.nxtbook.com/greatamericanmediaservices/VGN/march-2019
https://www.nxtbook.com/greatamericanmediaservices/VGN/february-2019
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https://www.nxtbook.com/greatamericanmediaservices/VGN/january-2019
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