Fall has arrived and we have a lot of holidays to look forward to — that leads us to visit a pumpkin farm. Join us as we talk to Shannon Latham at Enchanted Acres in Northern Iowa today.
Shannon loves pumpkins so much that she started a pumpkin patch several years ago. And while toddlers and other young children definitely enjoy the pumpkin farm, Shannon offers something for everyone. She says they have had bridal parties, engagement photo shoots and school groups all. From carving and decorating, to picking your own pumpkin or simply choosing from the ones the team at Enchanted Acres have already picked, cleaned and stacked, you will find something there that tickles your fancy.
And cooking with pumpkin is something she does so often that friends of her children call her the muffin lady! She shares tips with us on those favorite foods, recipes and cooking tips for the ages!
They plant dozens of varieties to offer the color, shape and intended use (cooking, decorating, carving or whatever!) as well as homemade jams and jellies. And with various activities featured each weekend — including great photo opps like the how tall this fall backdrop.
As Shannon mentioned, she and her husband have a seed company. Here’s a recent post I did on things you may want to know about seed.
Pumpkin Recipes Shannon Mentioned
- Taste of Home pumpkin seed recipes
- Pumpkin pudding (like pumpkin pie without the crust!)
- Pumpkin pie in a bag
- Shannon’s kid’s favorite pumpkin muffins
- Savory pumpkin recipe from the gourmet cooking club
- Sausage & Squash Soup
- Butternut squash bake
Find Enchanted Acres Pumpkin Farm Online
Where to Find Grounded by the Farm on Social Media
- GroundedbytheFarm.com for photos, blog posts, show notes and more
- Ask the Farmers Facebook Page
- Groundedbythefarm_ on Instagram
- Grounded by the Farm on Youtube
- @groundedbythef on Twitter
Holiday Foods Series
This is the first in a series of episodes about our favorite holiday foods that will be building through the end of 2020.
Detailed, Raw Transcript of the Pumpkin Episode with Shannon Latham
Grounded by the Farm 00:02
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. I don’t know about some of you, but when it comes to fall, and those first few days of hoodie weather come, I can’t wait for holidays to get here. And the first big holiday of the year is one of my favorites Halloween. I can’t imagine Halloween without pumpkins. We’re gonna do things a little bit differently. For the next couple of months, we’re only going to be talking about foods that have a specific place in our holidays. And so with that we’re talking pumpkins today was Shannon Lake them from Northern Iowa. Shannon runs enchanted acres. Her family does a lot of other things in agriculture, too. But enchanted acres is our personal passion. She loves growing pumpkins. She loves having the public come out and visit doing the decorations, talking about which pumpkins are better for pies, talking about what recipe she wants. And luckily for us, we’ve got all of that in the show notes this week. So let’s go ahead and get started right off with Shannon, talking about how fall is going this year in Northern Iowa.
Shannon Latham 01:28
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 let’s hope that that continues.
Grounded by the Farm 01:53
Yeah, yeah. I mean, it’s horrible to get to a pumpkin patch and be hot and sweaty. I think like, you know, it’s like football games. You want me a little bit chilly. But you don’t want to be right told right?
Shannon Latham 02:07
Right. So 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 02:28
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 02:43
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 or early and often. So October is National pumpkin month and we typically open mid September. So in Iowa, the 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 wasn’t 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 03:24
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 03:42
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 ages in mind. So every weekend we offer a special pumpkin decorating workshop. It might be buttons and bows it might decorating pumpkins was succulents to make a centerpiece for you. Thanksgiving table, but I try to think of things that people might not do at home. So right 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
Grounded by the Farm 05:23
what I was gonna ask about today litter because that’s one of those things I would not do at home. But I would love Xander pumpkin to stay out on the front porch never come in the house.
Shannon Latham 05:33
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 Japan owes 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 great activity, I should say for bridal showers, 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 06:33
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
Shannon Latham 06:46
if it’s aggressive. Yeah, exactly. contest is the key word 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.
Shannon Latham 07:03
And I you know, the
Shannon Latham 07:05
the little for me is proud to say I won the pumpkin baking contest one year.
Grounded by the Farm 07:10
Oh, that’s funny. I actually can claim ownership of a ribbon from the pumpkin decorating contest 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. Prop me the big, the big prize one year. So quite proud of that. Well, you just see. Exactly. So I was an accidental pumpkin grower one year, I don’t I don’t know how many people have had 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, and I can’t help my curiosity. I had to let it go. Right. So from the spring, and then I started seeing the flowers and I’m like, squash or pumpkin. I’m one of those. What do you think people should know if they try and grow a pumpkin? probably not the best way to
Shannon Latham 08:24
add a space. A lot of space, which I’m sure you found out right.
Grounded by the Farm 08:29
Those leaves got big for four. Yes,
Shannon Latham 08:32
the leaves 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 that we want them to vine 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 08:59
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?
Shannon Latham 09:23
Yeah, I think you would be amazed if you saw 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 by 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 09:59
I would say if you Got a half inch thick book of different seat varieties, even if it’s just one per page that’s a lot of pages I would really it
Shannon Latham 10:09
is a lot of pages I mean you would be amazed by the number of different colors and 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. 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 something 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 stacking. And so I usually put a Cinderella pumpkin on the bottom, there’s the jarrahdale. 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 it’s a pumpkin, but 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. Then as we’ve learned over the years, how do
Grounded by the Farm 12:05
you help the people who are coming to visit you figure those kind of things out, right? Because if you come to the shark and match, I typically just look for one that has the shape I like but Jennifer wanted to make a pie. Maybe not the best one to have.
Shannon Latham 12:20
Exactly. So there are definitely pie pumpkins in at our place. They’re called baby Pam are 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 accidental pumpkin patch that pumpkin vines are prickly. And yeah, well to the tee. Yeah, you want to make sure exactly. You want to make sure you’re dressed for it. So I would recommend a long sleeve shirt and boots. It loves fans, 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 fine or picking their own just like you would go out to a Christmas tree farm and pick out a tree. We offer
Grounded by the Farm 13:28
that nice pictures first before you get really exactly,
Shannon Latham 13:32
exactly and then change your shoes like Mr. Rogers, you know, we provide palettes so if you if you want to have the pumpkin picking experience without all the dirt, we’ve already picked them, washed 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 a picture. So that’s how we try to do it. I
Grounded by the Farm 13:59
mean, who would have thought when we were kids? Right? It was such a simple world you had either as a tall as an orange or a perfectly round pumpkin, right? Like it was taller. It was round. And that was how it was the only question
Shannon Latham 14:14
so absolutely. I didn’t know there was anything other than a jack o’ lantern pumpkin when
Grounded by the Farm 14:18
I was a kid. Right, right. So that traditional jack lantern pumpkin. Do you guys have those? I assume as well?
Shannon Latham 14:26
Yes, absolutely. 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 nutrient into that pile. Yeah, 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 we don’t open that part up to the public though.
Shannon Latham 15:18
would want to pick from there
Grounded by the Farm 15:20
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 width of the write, like what’s different between carving pumpkins and painting pumpkins?
Shannon Latham 15:45
Shannon Latham 15:46
think it has to do with the skin. You’re right. 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 might it’s just basically I think size and preference anymore. I would have never thought about carving a white pumpkin though. My mom’s it. Yeah, so cute. And then if you’re going for some designs, you don’t even have to paint the pumpkin because you could just use the color pumpkin. We have some that are, 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,
Grounded by the Farm 16:21
though. Kind of doubling up. That looks like probably a disease or something. But that’s it does. Yeah.
Shannon Latham 16:30
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 says, 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,
Shannon Latham 16:46
No, that’s right. So they just don’t
Shannon Latham 16:50
love it. 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 17:11
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? My
Shannon Latham 17:27
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 it 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? Give 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.
Grounded by the Farm 18:07
Shannon Latham 18:09
this time of yours great soup. Whether so how do you roast them 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 looking for food. 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 they’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 plain 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 get to 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
Shannon Latham 19:08
is that? So I’ll send that your way. If you want to share that and scream it. 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 vest as 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
Shannon Latham 19:42
So usually we’ll make pumpkin pie in a bag for them. And then I just do little single servings of 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 20:13
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 20:22
of good buying 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 20:41
Yeah. What’s one of your favorite ways of putting pumpkin on the table? Like as a food product?
Shannon Latham 20:48
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 did make muffins all the time. And so last year during my kids a senior year it again, I change out my recipes like some people change 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 favorite. I’ll have
Grounded by the Farm 21:20
the link for the show notes. Yeah,
Shannon Latham 21:22
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 at enchanted acres we have a little restaurant called the marketplace cafe and we’ll serve pumpkin chili there sometimes 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
Grounded by the Farm 21:55
what did and why do yum cans kinda add nutritionally what’s what’s there that we
Shannon Latham 22:00
should they are high in vitamin A and beta carotene for sure. I just said carrot wood. Uh huh. Good for your
Grounded by the Farm 22:07
Shannon Latham 22:08
They are definitely good for your eyesight. So they’re sometimes we’ll 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.
Grounded by the Farm 22:20
They love to eat the little seeds. They love to eat the filling. 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 22:32
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 22:44
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 23:07
I often stuffed zucchini, like some people stuffed peppers,
Shannon Latham 23:12
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 23:24
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. Can you tell me one of the questions I had for you because so many of us have gotten the pumpkin patches at various times in our lives this year. Is it going to be a little bit different with some of the issues around Coronavirus? And how are you guys kind of planning for this season?
Shannon Latham 24:03
I think one of the great things about a pumpkin patch is that it’s a lot of the activities naturally happen outdoors. And when we’re talking about early on in the pandemic and people weren’t getting out of their houses, just not good for people’s mental health. I think why not take your family, why not take your friends and spend a day out at the pumpkin patch. So it’s really easy at enchanted acres. I know in some of the urban pumpkin patches, it can be a little more crowded, but social distancing is not a problem at and change makers at all. And so because we are located in rural North Iowa, but what we’re doing with our pumpkin decorating classes is if you don’t come your group can stay together. So if it’s your family, that’s fine, but we’re easily able to spread out so people can be socially distancing. Again, you know, our hay rides, we’re taking a lot fewer people. So again, we can be socially distance if you’re not part of the crowd. So we’re doing more frequent hay rides and not filling the racks all the way up. We are not requiring masks. Outside, that’s optional, we’re only requiring mask if you come inside our store. And then we’re doing we also do storytime, which is we do a book and a craft, a lot of what I try to do is help people understand farming and where their food comes from. So a lot of my stories are kids stories that help tell the story of agriculture, we’re doing those outside. Now, when the weather turns a little bit cooler, or it snows God forbid, we’ll be upstairs and bells tower. And again, we’ll be able to socially distance. So we might have to do more than one storytime. Yeah, to allow for that. But but we’re flexible. I mean, that’s one of the great things about being a privately owned small pumpkin patches, we can be flexible and adapt as needed. But I am really glad to see so many families coming out, I think it’s a perfect way to spend a couple of hours. And I think that’s the other blessing that’s come out of the pandemic is that families are able to have more time to enjoy family
Grounded by the Farm 25:58
Yeah, and I think more people have the option with their kids doing virtual schooling and stuff to maybe make a trip out during the week, or something for those wages that are open during the week in places like St. Louis, when you live in a major city, calling around to see where there are other places outside of the city a little bit further, maybe a new option to try not only your traditional pumpkin patch that you’ve always supported, go to those but also get out in the car, go for a ride out in the country a little bit further out and see what else you can find.
Shannon Latham 26:29
Yeah, that’s a great point. In fact, today, I just took a phone call from a homeschool group that asked if they could schedule a time to come and say, so we’re going to, you know, open up on a on a morning for them to come in. So I think you’re right, why not call and see if they could make accommodations for your group. But also going you don’t have to go too far out of the city, you know, to have a little bit more of a rural experience. I’ve had people drive up from Des Moines, which is two hours for us. But they like to come up because it is even a different experience. And in fact, they say it’s more of a farm experience rather than a commercial experience. Yeah. And then, you know, camping has been so wildly popular. I happen to just jump in on a Facebook conversation where somebody was saying they had rented an RV, but the campground they wanted to go to was was booked. And yeah, so Oh, I was like, here’s some places you could check out in Franklin County. And while you’re there come visit our pumpkin patch. So I think you’re right, some of those key Yeah, some of those campgrounds might be full, but up where we’re at, there’s plenty of availability.
Grounded by the Farm 27:31
Yeah, that sounds awesome. 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 27:48
That’s right. My husband currently is chair of the American seed trade association. And I served as the American seed trade associations first chair of the Communications Committee, and I’m still active on it. So 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 the lifecycle. So some people may not know that the blossom is what is where the little baby pumpkin forms. So you can add see the seed, then we can see the blast, and you can see the little baby pumpkin start to grow. And then we’ll see it when the pumpkin is a little bit bigger. It starts out green, and then it turns orange and then we know it’s ripe and mature. 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, alfalfa and cover 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 leaf on high tech seeds.
Grounded by the Farm 29:03
Yeah, yeah. which is how I got to know you. It wasn’t through the pumpkin patch. Back in my days as a 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 never necessarily haven’t seen the full pumpkin catalog.
Shannon Latham 29:33
Right? Right. Because who knew there was just a pumpkin catalog, right?
Grounded by the Farm 29:39
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. Well listen, if people want to get in touch or they want to see what all you’re doing, tell them a bit about your social media presence and your website, things like that.
Shannon Latham 29:54
I’m very active on Facebook and chanted acres. To find us you might need to put in a chat dacres Ay ay ay ay ay, are enchanted acres I because apparently there are other people that think they haven’t chanted acres as well. I’ll put the link
Grounded by the Farm 30:06
in the show notes to make that
Shannon Latham 30:09
look great. Yeah. So I try to I try to post several times a week, actually all year long, just because there’s always something going on in the farm, whether it’s baby goats being born, or chick, little chicks coming in, I just like to show people that and I always love answering people’s questions there, too. I’m just in the process of revamping my enchanted acres website. So it’s enchanted acres. iaa.com. I noticed that my blogs haven’t transferred over. So I usually blog there once a month, and hopefully we’ll get those back up. I’m hoping they’re not lost. And then also, I’m on Instagram, at enchanted acres.
Grounded by the Farm 30:48
Right, right. Well, I really appreciate it. Those were all the questions I had. Did I miss anything that you think a pumpkin novice would need to know? You know,
Shannon Latham 30:59
I think at the end of the day, I’m always about asking, I’m always about answering people’s questions. So I think if you have any questions about how your food is grown, how great that you can actually meet the local farmer who has grown it so you can get their questions answered right then and there. I didn’t change the acres, we have our own apple trees, and my mom has her own grape vines. And then of course, we grow our own pumpkins. But when you talk about being locally sourced, people love knowing that the apple butter was made from our trees when we cashew was not, unfortunately, the Sherry did not have a good Apple crop, but I was able to source apples from a local orchard. So we’re still making our own homemade apple butter. And our own homemade pumpkin butter, my mom makes all of the jams. And like I said, the grapes come from her own grape vines. Another great local connection is in talking about sharing that story of agriculture as we grow our own oats. So the oats then become a feed either for my neighbor’s dairy cattle or they’ll get put into a ration for my goats. The oats make straw, so the straw becomes bedding for my livestock or it also gets sold as fall decorations. So if you’re buying large square bales of straw and chanted acres, you know that it was produced right there.
Grounded by the Farm 32:13
That’s great. I love fall for all the jams and jellies and all the things that get pickled all those kind of pieces and start at small farms. And farmers markets are a critical piece of my farm activities
that the end of the day
Shannon Latham 32:29
I just want. I want people to feel comfortable, confident, knowing how we produced it and feel good about whether they eat it or whether they just stick reading with it. I want them to feel good about that purchase.
Grounded by the Farm 32:43
Yeah, they’re inviting you into their homes in some ways. And you want to I want to feel welcome there, right? Like you want to know that you’ve earned your spot, and that they feel really comfortable with having you.
Shannon Latham 32:56
Yeah, that’s a great way to word it. And it just means the world to me when I’ve got families that I’ve literally watched their kids grow up from the stroller to like being nine year olds now. It’s just, it really means a lot to me that they make that be an annual tradition, you know, coming back to enchanted acres to make those false false memories.
Grounded by the Farm 33:15
Thanks again for coming. This was a great way to spend part of my afternoon and I love that you are willing to be the first in the holiday series we are going to be talking about things like cranberries and turkeys and have a lot of fun for the holidays. So this got us kicked off in the great way. And we didn’t have to get too scary.
Shannon Latham 33:37
Well, thanks for having me and thinking of me.
Grounded by the Farm 33:40
So there we go. The first of the holiday episodes is now out we have several more coming. In fact, that’s what we’re going to be doing through the end of the year. Please tell your friends that are also holiday people to check us out. I think they are gonna find we have so many great foods coming and the farmers who are telling their stories. I am learning so much in this I almost feel guilty. So please tell your friends where to find us. Check us out in the show notes we try and put as many links there as we can. But you know on the website Grounded by the Farm calm we also get some of those photos, sometimes videos on there and can really add to it a bit more. Thanks so much. And we’ll see you again in two weeks as we continue our holiday series here on Grounded by the Farm.