It's the middle of October. To be honest, I'm already up to my ears in pumpkin patches, thanks in part to the dozens of pictures I see my friends post everyday on social media. Let's face it, a mommy never met a pumpkin patch photo opp she didn't like.
If you still haven't hauled your kids out to one of the various farms surrounding Jefferson County for a fun day at the pumpkin patch, here's a new (to me) suggestion: Deere Farms in Lanesville, IN. You'll put a few more miles on the minivan than if you visited the other top-of-the-line farm in Southern Indiana, but you'll be rewarded with fewer crowds at this quaint, off-the-beaten-path pumpkin patch experience.
You won't get bored at Deere Farms. In addition to the wagon ride to the pumpkin patch, your kids will enjoy a pumpkin-shaped bouncy house, giant tire mountain, enclosed downhill slide, corn husk cannon, gem mining, barrel train ride, farm animals and more. My family particularly liked the corn mazes. In one maze designed for the younger set, kids are prompted in the correct direction by pages from the book "Spookley the Square Pumpkin." As the kids turned in between the dried stalks, my oldest child read this cute story to my younger children, and in no time, they had successfully completed the maze—and the story. But Deere Farms also has more intricate mazes that will entertain older kids and adults, especially if they choose to play the FSI (Farm Scene Investigation) game while winding through the paths.
The staff was extremely friendly and accommodating, the pumpkins were plump and inexpensive ($4 for a giant, heavy-to-haul pumpkin!), and the farm was beautiful and clean. It was well worth the thirty-minute drive. Even my three year-old agreed, screaming, “Let’s go 'pumpkin-patching' here again!” When you make up a new word about a family outing, you know you had a good time.
Get all the information about Deere Farms at www.deerefarms.com. Pay attention to their hours, however: they open Fridays at 5:00 pm, Saturdays at 11:00 am, and Sundays at 12:00 pm through November 4.
Photos by: Anna Frye