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A Trip to the Pumpkin Patch
An Autumn Family Weekend Outing
Ever since my two sons were young we have made an annual pilgrimage in the Fall to nearby Wilcox, Arizona to pick apples and pumpkins.
Driving 70 miles to hike into a field and pick some pumpkins that could be purchased for the same price or less at a nearby grocery store does not make a lot of economic sense. However, the purpose of this type of trip is not simply to acquire a couple of pumpkins for Halloween. Instead, it is the experience and the opportunity to get out of town and have some fun family time.
An Arizona Pumpkin Patch
Small Family Farms Prospering as Tourist Destinations
Like other places in the nation, changes in agriculture have made it difficult for small farmers to survive when they have to compete with the more efficient giant agribusinesses.
While the small family farm has more or less disappeared, a number of them have reinvented themselves and prospered by focusing on tourism instead of traditional agriculture.
These farmers continue to grow crops but their focus is on providing and experience for tourists rather than the sale of their agricultural produce. Of course they grow and sell their crop but the buyers of their crop or crops are really interested in, and are paying for, for the overall farm experience rather than simply purchasing a pumpkin or two.
Families and couples come for the opportunity to enjoy a day in the country and to go into the fields and pick their food themselves. Of course these consumers knowingly pay retail, or more than retail, for the agricultural product or products they harvest themselves. Again, what is being offered and pad for is the enjoyable experience with the agricultural product basically being an extra.
Thus, these farmers are in the tourism business with agriculture being the lure that brings the tourists.
A White Pumpkin on the Vine
A Continuing Role for the Family Farm
The past century saw the population shift from rural to urban living.
Throughout history most people lived in small villages and engaged in agriculture for their living. At the time of the American Revolution some 90% of the population was engaged in agriculture. Today, less than 10% of the American population is engaged in agriculture. Technology and mechanization enable this small segment of the population to produce food for both the nation and for export with agricultural products being a major American export.
Despite this shift in living from rural to urban and employment shifting away from agriculture, people long for the experience of the pastoral life of the countryside.
Thus, enterprising small farmers have found a way to not only make a living with their small farm but also provide new jobs and an a viable economic role their small family farm.
Tourists in a Pumpkin Patch
Links to my Other Autumn and Halloween HUbs
- Brief History of Pumpkins
Pumpkins are native to the New World and were cultivated by Native Americans long before the arrival of Europeans. Europeans then created both pumpkin pie and the Halloween Jack-O-Lantern
- The Haunted Cornfield
Autumn has always been a great time of year. For farmers it is the harvesting season while for city dwellers it is a time to begin returning indoors and refocusing on work or school after a summer in the...
- Ghostly White Pumpkins
Variety, it is said, is the spice of life. Being able to try or choose new things and having the opportunity to make a choice among many similar things are freedoms that we take for granted. We can take...
- How to Turn a Pumpkin into a Jack-O-Lantern
Utter the word Halloween and the first image that comes to most people's minds is a Jack-O'-Lantern - a pumpkin with a face carved on it. The practice of celebrating Halloween with Jack-O'-Lanterns is an...
Satellite View of Apple Annie's Farm in Wilcox, AZ
Apple Annie's Orchard and Pumpkin Farm
© 2009 Chuck Nugent