Revisiting Pumpkins, Grounded by the Farm, Episode 324 Transcript

October 19, 2022

This transcript accompanies our remastered & updated episode talking about trips to the pumpkin patch and some of the changes happening for Shannon Latham. Her pumpkin farm Enchanted Acres was a favorite from our holiday foods series.



pumpkin, pumpkin patch, people, year, seeds, called, pumpkin pie, pumpkin muffins, acres, enchanted, recipe, iowa, bit, favorite, compost pile, weekend, pie pumpkin, big, fun, varieties


Grounded by the Farm –  Janice Person, Shannon Latham


Grounded by the Farm  00:03

Food is more than just what’s on our plate. It’s the places where it’s grown. It’s the people who grow it and so much more. Join me, Janice person, your host on grounded by the farm every other week as we talk about the foods we love. For the next few weeks, we’re going to be re mixing and updating some of our favorite episodes about holiday foods. We did a series on them in 2020. And we thought it was time for an update. So we’re starting with pumpkins and our friend Shannon laid them who has enchanted acres of pumpkin patch in Sheffield, Iowa. You guys may remember the episode you may not have heard it yet. She gives us so many great tips on enjoying a pumpkin patch and on getting the most out of pumpkin when it comes to foods on the table. Just listening back to it. I so want pumpkin muffins right now. It’s crazy. Anyway, we’re going to remix a little bit of this episode, and then we’re going to update it at the end. So hope you enjoy and hope you’ll be back in a couple of weeks. Hey, everybody, this is Janice and this week we start our holiday seasons of episodes. We’re talking about pumpkins, which is obviously the first holiday thought I have every fall like what would fall be like without pumpkins. So we’re talking to Shannon Latham and Shannon is up in Iowa. And I can’t wait to hear what all’s been going on up there. Shannon, how’s your fall going?


Shannon Latham  01:40

It has been a beautiful fall so far in North Iowa, which you know, Janice, I always get a kick out of following you on social media and talking about how cold it gets. I’m always hopeful we can finish the pumpkin season without a snow. Snow and the pumpkin patch is not my friend. But it’s going great. The leaves are starting to turn we’ve had the perfect hoodie, apple cider wet weather so far. So let’s hope that that continues.


Grounded by the Farm  02:05

Yeah, yeah. I mean, it’s horrible to get to a pumpkin patch and be hot and sweaty. I think, you know, it’s like football games. You want to be a little bit chilly. But you don’t want to be told, right? Right. So


Shannon Latham  02:19

there is nothing like the super hot 85 degree weather to kill business at a pumpkin patch. You’re absolutely right. Another one is drizzle. No one wants to go out and pick pumpkins in a drizzle. And if we could only order like 65 degree and sunshine with no wind. That’s what I would put on tap for every weekend of October.


Grounded by the Farm  02:40

I love it. I love it. So we’re talking right at the changeover from September to October this will go up in about two weeks. Can you tell me when is your busy season? Was I crazy for scheduling you as the first of October hit?


Shannon Latham  02:54

No, that’s perfect. And I don’t know if you know this, but October is National pumpkin month. So as a foodie, I’m all about celebrating food holidays are early and often. So October is National pumpkin month and we typically open mid September. So in Iowa, the Iowa Iowa State game weekend is like our Super Bowl. And when I was new to the pumpkin patch business, I opened that weekend. And it was a lonely place to be it was a very lonely place because everybody in Iowa is either watching the game hosting a watch party or going to the game. So I have learned and I typically open the week following which is usually the third Saturday of September.


Grounded by the Farm  03:35

I love it. I love it out of all the farmers I’ve talked to you’re probably one of the few that a lot of people think Hey, pumpkin farm, I’ve done that. Right. So a lot of people have gone out and picked pumpkins or taken photos on a pumpkin farm and your farm is one of those farms for people in Northern Iowa. Right,


Shannon Latham  03:54

right. In fact, one of when you talk about that, you know and we all kind of joke about what’s Pinterest inspired. One of my favorite photo opportunities was when a young couple came out, she showed me a picture that was Pinterest inspired or Instagram inspired. I’m not sure which at the time, but it was this couple kissing in the pumpkin patch. And she’s like, would you take this for me? So yes, it is that place. And I just like having cute places if you’re whether you’re a young couple in love or you’re a family, and you make it an annual tradition. So I really love seeing that we’re where people come and bring their kids back year after year. We have a photo board that says how how tall this fall. And it allows them to continue to measure and it’s just really fun to see those families come back time and again. But I think that might be one of the biggest misconceptions is that people think oh, pumpkin patch that’s just for people with toddlers, but we really tried to provide activities. I’m a big believer in experiences and creating experiences, I believe experiences create memories, right. And so yeah, so we offer activities every weekend with different He has in mind. So every weekend we offer a special pumpkin decorating workshop. It might be buttons and bows, it might be decorating pumpkins with succulents to make a centerpiece for your Thanksgiving table. But I try to think of things that people might not do at home. So I think people traditionally think of carving pumpkins. Yeah, but they don’t maybe think about other things they could do one weekend, this fall we’ll be doing we’ll be using furniture tax to decorate pumpkins. And, and then every weekend, we allow people to paint pumpkins, and they can glitter them up, because you know what I was gonna


Grounded by the Farm  05:35

ask about today litter because that’s one of those things I would not do at home. But I would love Zeder pumpkin to stay out on the front porch never come in the house.


Shannon Latham  05:45

Right. So I like to say, leave the mess with us and take home your masterpiece. And so the name of our area where we do all of the pumpkin workshops is called Geppetto workshop because I’m a big Disney fan. And I just thought that was yeah, I just thought that was a good fit. It’s like leave the mess. And also we only charge $5 That includes your pumpkin, your paint your glitter. If you went to Hobby Lobby or Walmart and you wanted to buy different colors of paint as well as the pumpkin. You couldn’t do it for $5. So I think it’s just affordable. I was gonna say affordable family fun, but really affordable fun for the whole family. It’s fun to see grown. Mother daughters come last weekend I had a mother daughter and daughter in law come out. Yeah. And they did succulents. It’s also been a great area, or a great activity, I should say for bridal showers. So like the bridal party come out and decorate pumpkins. So yeah, I really like to think that we appeal to a broad audience.


Grounded by the Farm  06:45

I would tell you our office over the years, probably 20 years ago, I started doing pumpkin carving contest or pumpkin decoration contest. And it’s amazing how competitive people can get in that. If it’s yes, it


Shannon Latham  06:58

  1. Exactly contest is the keyword people. Especially I worked in an advertising agency in West Des Moines and we did the same thing. And those graphic designers, there was no way I could compete with them on the pumpkin carving. So I had to enter the pumpkin baking contest. And I you know, the the little featured me is proud to say I won the pumpkin baking contest one year.


Grounded by the Farm  07:22

Oh, that’s funny. I actually can claim ownership of a ribbon from the pumpkin decoration contests because I used inside humor, right? Like at an office, we all have those insider jokes. And to create a pumpkin that illustrated one of those brought me the big the big prize one year. So quite proud of that. Well, yeah, exactly. So I was an accidental pumpkin grower one year, I don’t I don’t know how many people have ended up in that happen. Right? My front porch when I bought a new house, the people had young kids and I don’t know if somebody accidentally brought you know, broke the pumpkin into the nice flower bed. Or if somebody just never dealt with it and ultimately just kicked it there to die. But the first year I lived there in the fall, I had this weird vine come up. And you know, I can’t help my curiosity. I had to let it go. Right. So from this spring, and then I started seeing the flowers and I’m like, squash or pumpkin. One of those. What do you think people should know if they try and grow a pumpkin? Probably not. The best way to do that


Shannon Latham  08:35

is space. It takes a lot of space, which I’m sure you found out right. Those different forms. Yes, the leafs get big and the vines can go for feet. Yeah. So when we plant our pumpkins, we plant them anywhere from eight to 14 feet apart. And there’s a couple of reasons we do that. We want the divine out, but we also pump raising pumpkins in large quantities like we do is really hands on. It takes a lot of labor. And so we do it every so often we make it a little bit wider so we can get through with the tractor and cultivator.


Grounded by the Farm  09:11

Yeah. So tell me, I obviously did not have that kind of space. It took over part of my front yard as well as the flower bed. And it was not your typical orange pumpkin. So do you guys grow just traditional orange pumpkins or there seems to be a lot of different things going on in the pumpkin world? Yeah, I


Shannon Latham  09:35

think you would be amazed if you saw a pumpkin growers catalog. It’s literally like and I know you Janice would be familiar with a seed catalog. Not everybody who’s listening probably is but what would that be half inch thick maybe and it’s all different pumpkin varieties. And I I’m like a kid in a candy store when I open that book because this year what was new was yellow pumpkins. So I am totally fascinated Buy pumpkin breeders because who thinks of this stuff like a yellow pumpkin, I plant more than 20 varieties, but it’s honestly a struggle to keep it down to 20 varieties.


Grounded by the Farm  10:11

If you’re cool half inch, that book of different seed varieties, even if it’s just one per page, that’s a lot of pages I would really


Shannon Latham  10:20

it is a lot of pages. I mean, you would be amazed by the number of different colors and so many different uses. So one of the pumpkins that I grow is called the peanut pumpkin for those who know French, I can’t even pronounce it but you would know it by a French name. And it looks like little peanuts are growing on there. So I just harvested some of those. Some of them are called speckled hound. Oh, that’s the other thing. The marketer in me loves the name of these different pumpkins and squashes. So the speckled Hound is orange and green together. And it’s speckle Yeah, then there’s one year I bought some just because it was called fairy tale. And I really thought, you know, enchanted acres should offer the fairy tale, it’s probably no surprise to you that our signature pumpkin is called the Cinderella. And it’s like, if you watch the Disney movie, it looks just like a Cinderella coach. It’s flat. And they are awesome for stalking. And so I usually put a Cinderella pumpkin on the bottom. There’s the Jared Dell, and it’s kind of a greenish blue color. And it’s a little bit thicker. It’s so pretty. And I had that’s the other thing I love about the pumpkin patch is you get visitors from everywhere. And I had a lady who was from Australia. And she’s like, Oh, you have the squash, which I think it’s actually I don’t know if it is a winter squash or if it’s a pumpkin, but they it’s very popular apparently in Australia. And this is going to be my ninth season and I have yet to eat one every year, I think I’m going to fix one of these. And every year I don’t know I guess I get busy and forget to do it. But they are really good eating, you know, squash is related to the pumpkin. So that’s that’s no big surprise. And then where I live, we have a very big Latino population. And so I’ll help people stop by because they love to eat pumpkin there too. So there’s just Yeah, every kind of squash and pumpkin really has a use whether it’s decorating some or even better for painting than yours. We’ve learned over the years, how do


Grounded by the Farm  12:16

you help the people who are coming to visit you figure those kinds of things out, right? Because if you come to the pumpkin patch, I typically just look for one that as the shape I like but then if I wanted to make a pie, maybe not the best one to have. Exactly. So


Shannon Latham  12:32

there are definitely pie pumpkins in in our place. They’re called Baby Pam or sweet sugars. So they make a better pie because they have I suppose a higher sugar content. Yeah, and they’re smaller. So we put signs we offer a you pick pumpkin patch, but not everyone wants to get dirty. And not everyone wants to climb through the vines because I’m sure you learned in your external pumpkin patch that pumpkin vines are prickly and go out into the field. Yeah, you want to make sure exactly want to make sure you’re dressed for it. So I would recommend a long sleeve shirt and boots. At least clothes you don’t mind getting dirty long pants. Exactly. So if you’re going to wear tennis shoes, make sure they’re ones that you know you’re okay with throwing them in the washing machine because that’s the other thing. Sometimes people dress so cute to come to the pumpkin patch, or they dress their kids so cute. And then they’re like, oh, but don’t get dirty. Well, I’m just a big believer you’re on a farm like half of that, especially especially if you’re like a little kid is getting dirty. That’s half the fun anyway, we provide that experience for those who think getting down and dirty is fun or picking their own just like you would go out to a Christmas tree farm and pick out a tree we offer that nice


Grounded by the Farm  13:40

pictures first before you get really exactly


Shannon Latham  13:43

exactly and then change your shoes like Mr. Rogers, you know, we provide pallets so if you if you want to have the pumpkin picking experience without all the dirt we’ve already picked them wash them and place them on a pallet and then to help people choose I make signs I’ve had them designed so that we can use them year after year but it lists the name of the pumpkin and talks about what what its best uses are and then it gives them a picture. So that’s how we tried to do it. I mean


Grounded by the Farm  14:11

who would have thought when we were kids right? It was such a simple world you had either as a tall you had was an orange or a perfectly round pumpkin right like it was taller it was round. And that was how it was exist the only question


Shannon Latham  14:25

so absolutely. I didn’t know there was anything other than a jackal lander and pumpkin when I was


Grounded by the Farm  14:30

a kid. Right right. So that traditional Jacqueline are and pumpkin. Do you guys have those? I assume as well? Yes, absolutely.


Shannon Latham  14:38

But they come in all different sizes too. I mean, I’ve grown some that are big white pumpkins, and they’re called polar bears and they get just huge. I also have Atlantic giants which are big orange pumpkins. In fact, one this year we had to use the forks of the tractor to move it I’m not sure who’s going to take that home with them because it’s it’s so big but It’s been kind of fun. And when you were talking about accidental pumpkins, some of our biggest pumpkins actually grow in our compost pile. And, and I think it’s just because it’s so full of nutrients in that pile and then it’s also kind of shady. So it probably helps keep a little bit more moisture over there as well. But it’s kind of fun to see what just grows naturally over by that compost pile. Well, that was really small but that part up to the public though would want to pick from they’re


Grounded by the Farm  15:31

playing in the compost pile doesn’t sound as fun as it you know, digging worms is one thing, but in the compost pile, something else. That’s so funny. So when you guys look at pumpkins, is one of the big difference in what would be considered a carving pumpkin, sort of the the texture or the whip of the right, like what’s different between carving pumpkins and painting pumpkins?


Shannon Latham  15:57

Yeah, I think it has to do with the skin. You write carving pumpkins are a little bit thicker. Some of the pumpkins, though, are too thick, so they don’t make a good carving pumpkin. Right. Um, and some of them are it’s just basically I think size and preference anymore. I would have never thought about carving a white pumpkin. But my mom did. Yeah. And it was so cute. And then if you’re going for some designs, you don’t even have to paint the pumpkin because you can just use the color of pumpkin we have some that are color are called knuckleheads. And, and they make the perfect like which face because they have all these it almost looks like little works growing all over them. Oh,


Grounded by the Farm  16:35

they’re probably a disease or something. But that’s it.


Shannon Latham  16:40

Yeah. In fact, of the first year I grew knuckleheads, my brother was out looking at my pumpkin patch, and I wasn’t there. And he said, What’s wrong with your pumpkins? And I said, which ones? Any any sent, sent me a picture and I said, Oh, that’s a knucklehead. And he’s like, That’s not nice to call me names. I’m like, No, that’s variety. So they just a moment. They really, it’s funny to say, but pumpkins have a lot of character. Like each variety. Kind of has its own personality, if you will, just like that is a little bit bumpy. We have one called orange roughy thing. We have a really popular gourd Friday called the lunch lady. So sometimes people see that and they buy it just because the name is funny.


Grounded by the Farm  17:22

Yeah, that’s funny for those people who are either carving it or using it for a, you know, some kind of eating extravaganza baking or whatever. What do you suggest they do with the seeds? Do you have like ways to use the seeds that are yummy or useful? i


Shannon Latham  17:38

My family loves roasted pumpkin seeds. My son’s favorite is with cinnamon and sugar. But then I did a taste test. Yeah, I did a taste test a couple of years ago at the pumpkin patch. And it did some with Italian seasoning, some that had a little bit more of a Mexican flair. And then the Cinnamon, cinnamon, and also we just like butter and salt on some of them too. So I think you know why not? Kind of like spice up your salads. I don’t know if spice up is the right word. I guess it depends on what you put on there. But But why not add some pumpkin seeds to a salad? Get it? Give it a little bit different flavor instead of the same old same old also, you could put it on the tops of soups. Yeah. Which this time of year is great soup weather.


Grounded by the Farm  18:22

So how do you roast them


Shannon Latham  18:24

my go to is taste of home. By the way, if anybody, which probably dates me a little bit, but taste of home is online. And it to me all those recipes are like what my mom and my grandma would make. So they’re just like comfort foods. So so that’s where I usually go to grab a recipe. And what what I do is I go ahead and scoop out the insides of the pumpkin by the way, if you get a pie pumpkin, they’ll have way more seeds in them and there’ll be smaller. So you could go ahead. Yeah, you could go ahead buy a pie pumpkin use the seeds for your salad soup or just playing as a snack to eat them by themselves. And then you could actually turn that pie pumpkin into pie. I see that you also share on your Facebook page, some recipes, I can share you my favorite share with you my favorite recipe if you want to buy a pumpkin pie pumpkin and turn it into pudding. Yeah, so Pumpkin Pudding tastes like pumpkin pie, but you don’t have to make the crust. So like How awesome is that? So I’ll send that your way if you want to share that. And then it’s really simple. Like I followed the Pioneer woman’s recipe for making your own pumpkin puree. It’s really not hard. It’s a very it’s an investment in time, but it’s really not that hard. And then yeah, so then that way you can have the seeds and you can use the fruit. In fact, that’s one of the things that I make sure I do a lot of field trips, usually. I love field trips because kids are so curious. They ask a lot of questions. But the one thing I want them to go home remembering is that pumpkin is a fruit and we can eat it. So usually we’ll make pumpkin pie in a bag for them. And then I just do little single servings have little cups that put graham crackers in the bottom. Then we squeeze some of that pumpkin pie filling into it. And I always love getting the thank you notes from little kids. And my favorite one was, you are such a good cook, will you be my friend. I just love it because first of all, like pumpkin pie in a bag is the easiest thing you’ll ever make. And second of all, it requires no cooking. So when


Grounded by the Farm  20:25

it sounds like the perfect, perfect setup well so you say pumpkin pie requires no cooking. It’s a really easy thing. You make it a lot


Shannon Latham  20:33

of pumpkin pie in a bag pumpkin kind of bag, I should say. And that’s what we do on our field trips. And so really, we just mix it in a Ziploc bag. It’s pumpkin pie filling out of a can. It’s instant pudding, it’s milk and some pumpkin pie spice. you squish it all together in a Ziploc bag, and it’s ready to eat in a matter of minutes.


Grounded by the Farm  20:53

Yeah. What’s one of your favorite ways of putting pumpkin on the table? Like as a food product?


Shannon Latham  20:59

Pumpkin Bread is definitely one of my family’s favorite pumpkin muffins. So I’m newly an empty nester. So it’s very strange for me, I used to I used to be called like the muffin lady because I would make muffins all the time. And so last year during my kids a senior year, again, I change out my recipes like some people change at their word. I definitely have a pumpkin muffin season. And I’ve shared that recipe several times in several different blogs. pumpkin muffins are one of my kids is


Grounded by the Farm  21:30

favorite. I’ll have the link for the show notes. Yeah,


Shannon Latham  21:34

definitely. And I like pumpkin muffins even as a side dish. So if we’re going to do a bowl of chili, some people might put that with cornbread, I’m going to serve it with pumpkin muffins. And then I’ve also made pumpkin chili and add enchanted acres. We have a little restaurant called the marketplace cafe and will serve pumpkin chili there are some times you really don’t taste it. I think it really just kind of gets absorbed by the other flavors of the chili but I figure you know when at the pumpkin patch, right? Why not give it a try? So we’ve done that What did


Grounded by the Farm  22:08

skins kind of add nutritionally what’s what’s there that we should


Shannon Latham  22:12

they are high in vitamin a and beta carotene for sure, you know, just like a carrot would? Uh huh.


Grounded by the Farm  22:18

Good for your eyesight.


Shannon Latham  22:19

They are definitely good for your eyesight. So they’re sometimes will feed some of the pumpkins that we aren’t able to sell. We’ll feed them to our goats, or we’ll feed them to our chickens and they eat everything but the shell they love to eat out. They love to eat the little seeds. They love to eat the filling.


Grounded by the Farm  22:34

When you think about pumpkins, a lot of us go to sweet things like the pies and and things. Are there more savory pumpkin recipes.


Shannon Latham  22:43

Yes. And I have a recipe actually for so there was a gourmet food club in the area that came about pie pumpkins, and then they shared a recipe for me. And it’s it is a savory recipe. So


Grounded by the Farm  22:55

I’ll have to get that. Yeah, I think that’s what’s really interesting about so many of the holiday kinds of things, right? So many of them, you can make them into total sweet as a dessert or something like that. But you can also make them into the savory kind of moments that other people who don’t necessarily like sweets as much we’ll go wait a minute, that’s really good.


Shannon Latham  23:18

I often stuffed zucchini, like some people stuffed peppers. I stuffed zucchini, but I don’t know why you couldn’t stuff a pie pumpkin, or even cut it up and then layer it, I’m gonna have to give it a try. Gosh, we might have we might be on to something there.


Grounded by the Farm  23:35

Well, and I can tell you some of the squash and things that I’ve had when I’m in places like Japan, they have some great, great ones that they’ll do that way. And so I’m always looking for some of those to come back again, when I’m in the US. I never know when I’m going to find one. So kind of look around to see if I can find something similar. Uh huh. Now I know you said you were trying to make sure people have an opportunity to learn about the farm because you are in a really rural area. We didn’t really mention it, but your family’s in other parts of agriculture too. So you, you bring a lot of agriculture to the pumpkin patch. Right?


Shannon Latham  24:10

That’s right. We’re very much involved in the seed industry. So that’s why I’m such an advocate for people who come especially those on field trips to learn where the pumpkin comes from. I want them to know that it starts with a seed and then we’ll actually walk out into the pumpkin patch and show the different parts of a lifecycle. So some people may not know that the blossom is what is where the little baby pumpkin forms. So you can we can see the seed then we can see the blasts and then you can see the little baby pumpkins start to grow. And then we’ll see it when the pumpkins a little bit bigger. It starts out green and then it turns orange and then we know it’s right. Batcher so for me that’s really fun way for people to learn where their food literally comes from. Also, my husband and I own a seed company and so we sell corn, soybeans Alpha also uncover crops across six states in the upper Midwest. So that is so this pumpkin patch is definitely one of my passions. It’s kind of my it’s literally my little hobby farm. But my day job is doing marketing for Latham, high tech seeds.


Grounded by the Farm  25:14

Yeah, which is how I got to know you wasn’t through the pumpkin patch. Back in my days of the seed business. It’s funny, I actually had a chance here a couple of weeks ago to talk about seed with a bunch of gardeners, right. So people who are new to gardening, or people who are a little more established, you know, for a lot of people, they look at a seed catalog or they look at the seed rack in their local nurseries or whatever. They didn’t necessarily haven’t seen the full pumpkin catalog.


Shannon Latham  25:42

Right? Right. Because he knew there was just a pumpkin catalog, right?


Grounded by the Farm  25:49

I didn’t. It makes sense to me, but I’ve never thought about it, even though I’ve been working with farmers for so long.


Janice Person  25:58

Hey, everybody, we’re back. Now we’re going to catch up with Shannon. You’ve heard the interview we did and 2020. All I removed really was the things you were doing around COVID. I hope last year was a good year back. But then this year sounds like a grand year at enchanted acres.


Shannon Latham  26:17

Yes, fishy. There’s so much excitement. We’ve had our best pumpkin crop ever. I believe we’ve also had our best crowds ever. And I think a lot of that is just people trying to get one last visit into enchanted acres.


Janice Person  26:32

Yeah. So now you’ve said this is going to be your final season. It’s been a generational family thing to do this every year. And this is your final season.


Shannon Latham  26:44

Yeah, this is our final season. We started in 2012. And when I started in 2012, I knew that I was committed to at least 10 years. So I guess I kept saying, you know, last year was gonna be my last year and then I wasn’t ready. I wasn’t ready. And then my brother’s like, sure this is gonna be your last year. We’ve heard that before. But I made it Facebook official. So this is it. This is it.


Janice Person  27:09

I love it. I love it. I know since it’s been a family affair, you’re you’re working multiple jobs, your brother’s working in multiple places. And your parents are the ones that actually did a lot of this work, too. So it sounds like it’s time for you guys to take a break.


Shannon Latham  27:28

Yeah, I think it’s time for what’s next. Right. And the other thing that’s changed too, when I started this, my kids were 10. And so now they’re in college, and they’re, you know, spreading their own wings, which is what we raised them to do. And the last thing I want them to do is feel guilty for not coming home from college or thinking that they can’t pursue their dream job because we need to, you know, need their help at home. So, but with that said my daughter, she has come home every weekend since she’s been in college, which is great, because we definitely need her help. So I’m glad that she helped. So what she really enjoys doing is picking gourds of all things. I don’t


Janice Person  28:10

ask you about decorative gourds and things because they have become huge.


Shannon Latham  28:17

Yeah, so she loves picking and washing them, which is awesome, because my least favorite job of any of them is washing things like gourds. So she loves doing that. But she also has just so much patience. And she’s really good with kids. So she helps them with the pumpkin painting. So we added changemakers we like to say, you know, leave us with a mess and you take home the masterpiece so people can paint and put glitter on their pumpkins, and then just take home the finished product.


Janice Person  28:45

Exactly. So when we talked a couple of years ago, yellow pumpkins were just becoming a thing. I’ve seen some white ones and some Yeah, they’re strange colors. What’s the is there a new N thing this year?


Shannon Latham  29:01

You know, that’s a great question. And I did not look at the seed catalog this year to see what was new because you know how some women love shoes and you know, jeans and things like that. Like I love looking at that pumpkin seed catalog there are times when I planted over 20 varieties. And so this year I didn’t even open it up. I just planted our tried and true I mean the name of our pumpkin patches enchanted acres so our Cinderella pumpkins are our signature pumpkin so of course we had to plant a lot of those. The yellow pumpkins are still really popular this year. I’m not sure what happened in years past I’ve had polar bear pumpkins and I don’t know if my seeds didn’t come in or what but we didn’t have any big any big polar bear pumpkins this year. I was disappointed when I went out to pick and there were


Janice Person  29:53

Well you mentioned the Cinderella pumpkins and on Facebook I saw it A picture of your place. And it was like a Cinderella carriage lit up at night. It is amazingly beautiful. Oh, thank



you is,


Janice Person  30:11

are you actually doing nighttime activities? Or is that just a little something,


Shannon Latham  30:16

it’s just to have some wonder at night, there is literally a tree that lights up. It looks like something from Disney. And it’s in the middle of a field in the middle of everywhere, let’s say right in the middle of nowhere. But people are driving like 50 miles to see that tree during Christmas time. So I hope our big giant pumpkin is one of those things that people want to drive past. Because we’re literally just two miles off Interstate 35. And if I had little kids, I would definitely drive them by at night and tell them it’s the Great Pumpkin. And then I probably read it’s the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown or make them watch the movie because I was that mom. Yeah. It really isn’t. I’ve had people call me like I had a friend who lives outside the area. And she’s like, I totally forgotten we’d be driving by your pumpkin patch. And I could not believe it when there is this big glowing comic in the middle of the field. So I you know, that’s been fun. It’s fun to hear you bring a little bit of enjoyment to someone’s day.


Janice Person  31:18

I love it. We talked a lot of recipes when we talk two years ago, because you and I both love food so much. Exactly. And I suddenly was wanting pumpkin muffins because we had talked too much about them.


Shannon Latham  31:32

But speaking of all things pumpkin, so we put our pie pumpkins on special today for this weekend, I should say. And that made me think about all my favorite pumpkin recipes. And then I thought, Oh, I wonder what the Pioneer Woman has to say. So I shared a few links to some of her favorite pumpkin recipes. So now there’s even more that I want to try.


Janice Person  31:52

You have just a couple of weeks left, right.


Shannon Latham  31:55

We used to stay open through Halloween. But it turns out most people have their pumpkins by Halloween. So go figure. So yeah, so just a couple of weekends left. It’s bittersweet. I’ll tell you it has been so much fun. One of the families came to visit me last weekend that have literally been there every year. So they had moved to the area when their daughter was little, was just Yeah, real little. And so last year, she came back and she bled storytime, which was really fun. And then this year, they just came back to wish us well. And it has been just, I can’t even find the words to describe what it means to be part of somebody’s family traditions and literally watch their kids grew up during the last 11 seasons.


Janice Person  32:41

Well, I think this is an opportunity for somebody else in that Sheffield area to take on this great role in your community there.


Shannon Latham  32:50

I do think genius. I do think we’ll see somebody in this area. You know, we really live in the heart of rural America right here. Yeah, in Iowa. And I am especially in North Iowa here. I really, I really do believe we’ll see. See another pumpkin patch or to crop up.


Janice Person  33:06

Well, I know here in St. Louis, we have several around. Also apple picking is still a big thing. There’s still plenty of apples going on. So I’d encourage people to do that. You’ve only got a little time and then it’s Yeah, then it leaves.


Shannon Latham  33:23

Yes. And the leaves have been particularly lovely. So our family has an exchange to that this year. And when your host parents were in a pumpkin patch, you obviously don’t go anywhere on the weekend. So they had school off on Columbus Day I believe it was and so we took her to Wisconsin apple orchards and just had a blast. Yeah, the leaves were beautiful, but I you know, like you I love food but I also believe foods destination so we made sure that apple cider doughnuts were on the list for Monday. And then also I love a good burger. So I was scouting out best burgers in this area. I have been known to plan trips around the best burgers. And I’ve been known to break for cheese curds. So so many reasons to get out and travel.


Janice Person  34:14

Well, I’ve got big food plans almost all the time. There’s always a food destination on the horizon. So thanks so much. I’m going to eventually get to your farm but I guess I won’t get to Enchanted acres I’ll just


Shannon Latham  34:28

Yeah, well rest isn’t going away. Just the pumpkin patch podcast. So yeah, so you can still come and so people are asking me what’s next wedding venues are really big deal. Yeah, so I’m thinking that’s probably what the next array is going to be. It’s enchanted acres upstairs is really cute. I think that’d be a great place for not only the wedding party to get ready but even to host a wedding shower. I posted bridal showers, baby showers up there. It’s a great place for a family reunion. You I’ve just got


Janice Person  35:01

it out after you get all those pumpkins in and you and your holiday season, he can think about that after the new year comes maybe


Shannon Latham  35:11

I just think I might need to do it beforehand because there’s probably a lot of wedding rings that are gonna happen between Christmas and New Year. I know that’s where I was like, I don’t know that I can rest on my laurels for too long here. So


Janice Person  35:23

family gathering over the holidays for the big families too, because it’s nice to finally have crowds getting back together.


Shannon Latham  35:31

Yes, absolutely. I think there’s, you know, I think it’s gonna look different but I’m excited. It’s just it’s it’s time for the next chapter.


Janice Person  35:39

That sounds great. Shannon thanks so much for being here. Now let’s remind people it’s enchanted acres on Facebook. And they may need to make it when they search look for enchanted acres Iowa. Correct. Oh, yeah. Didn’t know see in our carriage kind of shape there for your logo.


Shannon Latham  35:59

Yeah, and it’s our website is enchanted acres i A because apparently other states have a chance to make goods as well, you know. So, yeah. Makers.


Janice Person  36:10

All right. That way people can see what what’s going on here as you guys close out your seasons. Thanks so much for getting on with me tonight. I appreciate it.


Shannon Latham  36:19

Thank you so much for having me as a guest to get it’s always fun to talk with you.

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