The Roanoker - July/August 2020 - 57

" He was not about it at all, " Darrell notes dryly.
In May and June there's mowing hay and planting
vegetables. Come mid-June they plant 20 acres of
pumpkins, including large " Gladiator " pumpkins,
" Cannonball " pie pumpkins and various specialty and
decorative varieties. By high summer they're managing
weeds and picking vegetables, and of course there's also
cleaning and sprucing up the attractions, plus permits
and insurance for it all.
The first year they held the festival, they weren't
sure what to expect.
" I kept telling them not to get excited or expect
too much, " Ned says, but they were happily surprised.
" That first week we did what I thought we'd do for
the whole season. "
As with all farming, however, much depends on
Mother Nature. " If we get rained out three weekends,
we might just break even, " says Ned II.
Jeter Farm's fall festival is held on weekends from
the end of September through October. In addition
to the corn maze, visitors enjoy hayrides, slides and
swings, a pumpkin train and pumpkin cannons aimed
at a boat in their pond. There's also a stunning field of
sunflowers and a barnyard zoo with baby calves, cattle,
chickens, sheep and more.
The festival runs with help from family (including
Ned's wife Rene, Ned II's wife Rose and Darrell's
wife Lacee), friends and neighbors. They cook and
serve hamburgers, hot dogs, corn on the cob and
pumpkin pie. At the country store, they sell local and

TheRoanoker.com

Virginia-made goods, including apple cider from the
Shenandoah Valley.
Darrell notes that even with all the attractions, it's
a working farm and retains that atmosphere, which
people enjoy seeing. Ned says they also work to keep
prices reasonable (admission is $10) so that ordinary
families can come out.
Lest you think all of that's enough to keep them
busy, the Jeters have also started holding a tractor pull
every August at The River Farm.
" We've got seven classes [of tractor pulls], with 10
to 12 per class competing to see who carries the weight
the furthest, dragging a big sled, " says Darrell. " The
further you go, the harder it gets, and there's smoke
flying - it's exciting. "
Spectators sit on the hillside above, which Ned says
provides a great view not only of the action, but also
the surrounding scenery.
" The sun is setting behind you and you're looking out
over a big cornfield, with the James River behind the field
and Purgatory Mountain in the background, " he says.
For the Jeter family, agritourism helps keep their
historic family farm afloat. They've changed with the
times and work hard to keep everything running, but
that's nothing new for farmers.
Says Ned II, " Every day is different, and you've gotta
be able to adapt. "
For more information on Jeter Farm's Fall Festival and
Tractor Pull, visit jeterfarm.com, facebook.com/JeterFarm,
and facebook.com/TheRiverFarmLLC. I

JULY/AUGUST 2020 57


http://www.jeterfarm.com http://www.facebook.com/JeterFarm http://www.TheRoanoker.com

The Roanoker - July/August 2020

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The Roanoker - July/August 2020 - Cover1
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