Along the banks of Turkey Creek, autumn isn’t just a season.
Here, kids roast marshmallows and feed fish in the pond. They climb to the top of a mound of earth and take a sled down the giant slide. There is a nature trail along the creek and a corn maze, too.
Most important, perhaps, is the opportunity to scramble through three acres of pumpkins and pluck a favorite.
Tim Kaminkow stared out into the acres where families explore and schoolchildren come and learn about agriculture as well as play. A year ago, it was a blank slate.
Now, months and a lot of hard work later, he and his wife, Jamie, have turned their small Moundridge farm into a fall destination: They call it P and M Pumpkin Ranch, named after their daughters, Paityn, 9, and Macy, 6.
“To me, going to Home Depot or Lowe’s and picking out a pumpkin isn’t much fun,” Tim Kaminkow said.
The couple, who have an erosion control business, always wanted to get back into farming. Jamie grew up on a farm near Inman and Tim helped his parents on their East Coast Christmas tree farm.
“P and M Pumpkin Ranch grew out of a desire to give back to God what He had given to us, to find a way to generate work from our farm, to teach our girls the value of working hard and to provide a place for families to spend time together enjoying the fall,” said Jamie Kaminkow.
They began researching pumpkin varieties and formulating a plan. Besides typical orange pumpkins, the couple also planted specialty pumpkins, including white, blue and pink ones.
The whole family chipped in to help. Their daughters helped weed the patch in the summer.
“They love the harvest part,” Jamie added.
Their last project, a large metal barn, was constructed in August, and Tim’s parents helped decorate it with a fall theme.
The $5 entrance fee allows families to experience the entire farm, which also includes a barrel train, petting zoo, pumpkin slingshot, playground and pedal corral track, along with specialty weekend events. One weekend they offered horse-drawn wagon rides. An upcoming weekend will feature a chainsaw artist.
Visitors can also buy food at the patch’s store, including hot dogs and marshmallows, and roast them over a nearby fire pit.
Most of the regular orange pumpkins cost 33 cents a pound. Specialty pumpkins are 40 cents a pound, Jamie said. Those wanting to just pick a pumpkin don’t have to pay the entry fee.
“The biggest thing is we wanted a family event that is affordable for the family,” Tim said. “And that is what we offer.”
Jamie said the state-registered agritourism site also is geared to education. Students who come will learn about the growth cycle of pumpkins and the economic aspects of farming.
“People who come out enjoy the farm,” Tim said. “The laughter and the smiles of the kids are priceless.”
If you go:
What: P and M Pumpkin Ranch
When: Through Nov. 1
Hours: Tuesdays through Thursdays: 4 to 7 p.m.; Fridays: 4 to 8 p.m.; Saturdays: 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.; and Sundays: 1 to 7 p.m.
School groups can come during the day Tuesday through Friday by reservation only.
Where: 311 16th Ave., Moundridge
Cost: $5 per person. Children age 2 and under are free. Visitors can buy regular pumpkins for 33 cents a pound. The barrel train and pumpkin launcher have an additional fee.
For more details: Call (620) 345-3103 or visit http://www.pandmpumpkinranch.com.