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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

Pumpkins growing in a southern Arizona pumpkin patch

Pumpkins growing in a southern 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

White pumpkin waiting to become a Jack-O-Lantern

White pumpkin waiting to become a Jack-O-Lantern

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

Tourists seeking their special pumpkin for Halloween

Tourists seeking their special pumpkin for Halloween

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Satellite View of Apple Annie's Farm in Wilcox, AZ

Wilcox, Arizona

© 2009 Chuck Nugent

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Comments

Legacy Wellness from Katy, Texas on October 24, 2009:

When I was little, my dad would often took me with him to the farmer's market auction. He owned a produce business. I would some how ALWAYS end up buying PUMPKINS for him. Who can figure???

Christoph Reilly from St. Louis on October 22, 2009:

We have several farms in the area that do the same thing, mostly with peaches. The produce is excellent to boot.

Mindfulness on October 21, 2009:

What a nice story. I've never had the chance to visit a pumpkin farm but I suspect that is way more fun than growing your own, lone pumpkin in your backyard.

neysajasper on October 21, 2009:

nice hub! i really like pumpkin. For it i have harvested it in my kitchen garden.

Vizey on October 21, 2009:

nice hub man! I had harvest pumpkin i got crazy of its fragrance.And these pumpkin pics are watering my mouth

Wanderlust from New York City on October 20, 2009:

Great pictures! Beautiful pumpkins!

bobmnu from Cumberland on October 20, 2009:

We have seen may farmers go from just making it to making a profit by doing such marketing of their products. We have visited the Apple Orchards with our Grandchildren and they like taking the hay rides and picking your own apples. It makes a great afternoon outing. Thanks for the Hub Page.

Hmrjmr1 from Georgia, USA on October 20, 2009:

Looks like a good time, Great Info!

Pamela Oglesby from Sunny Florida on October 20, 2009:

What a neat experience. I love to be able to get produce right from the farmer.

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