Erin Petersen
All in a day’s fun

Swan’s Pumpkin Farm

By - Oct 16th, 2009 08:41 am
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Swans1I’m completely enamored with holidays, specifically the Halloween-Thanksgiving-Christmas season. There are  no religious or sentimental ties to my fascination. I don’t too much care for the way that holidays are branded, much less the craze they cause among ravenous shoppers. To better explain, we didn’t do holidays in our house when I was a kid. No Thanksgiving, no Christmas, no Easter, no birthdays. Those were all just regular days for us, only special if we got to stay home from school.

When I started celebrating holidays as an adult, I became obsessed with the ephemeral things associated with holidays — the foliage, seasonal foods, twinkling lights, homemade gifts. It makes me feel like a kid — the sort of aesthetic surrounding this time of year, and now that I have nieces I want a little of my enthusiasm (and frugality) to rub off on them. Like anyone, I want them to have things that I didn’t growing up, and I want it to be a positive experience. However, I also want to instill gratitude and grace so that they don’t morph into a couple of sour, unappreciative little boogers who throw tantrums when they don’t get what they want. The oldest is finally able to walk, talk and comprehend, so this year I planned a day trip for us to Swan’s Pumpkin Farm with high hopes to get this whole holiday cheer thing off the ground.

Swan’s is a family-owned farm that’s nestled into the scenic county right outside of Racine. It’s clean and family-friendly and during the fall harvest business is booming. The short drive there (less than an hour) was particularly gorgeous, the vibrant colors transforming a normally dreary landscape into something that looked like a Bob Ross painting. The day was sunny and brisk, and the farm was packed with families and kids running through the rows of pumpkins, eyes glazed and watery from the whipping

Entrance to the farm is free everyday. Once inside the gate, you can grab a wheel barrel from the the farm house for all of the goodies you collect during your visit. The prices are reasonable, too — pumpkins sell for 26 cents per pound; gourds are three for a buck; and other decorative items like corn stalks and Indian corn come cheap. There’s a cafe and market with tons of autumn treats like hot apple cider, caramel apples, pumpkin pie and homemade apple dumplings. We stopped into the market for a few gallons of locally-made cider ($2.50 a piece), a few candy apples and a jar of apple butter.

On the west end of the farm were tractor-drawn hayrides and a corn maze through the fields. The daytime hayride was a bit lackluster and longer than we’d expected, or maybe it just seemed that way because several children (including my niece) were screaming for their mothers the entire time. I would suggest a hayride in the evening — those come with roasted marshmallows and a fire afterward. Hayrides, trips to the corn maze and the haunted house cost a flat fee of $6 — you can purchase a wristband at the gate and that will get you in to any attraction.

punkinsPumpkins are scattered about the entire farm in large clusters and long, long lines that extend out to the road. Due to rain from the night before, the actual pumpkin patch was a cold swamp and neither myself nor my  niece was dressed for mudding. We dared not venture in even though it looked like some of the best ones for carving and eating were in the patch. We decided instead to meander along the east end of the farm, grazing through the piles of pre-picked pumpkins and gourds. By the time we moved over to the petting zoo, the weather shifted, the sun disappeared and the crisp breeze turned into a howling gale. We soldiered on,  feeding the half-dozen goats and one very unaffected alpaca with the other kids, trying to pretend it wasn’t freezing. But the weather got the best of us, so we picked out a couple of beauties and called it a day.alpaca

For only $17, we made quite a haul:
2 pumpkins
3 gourds
2 candy apples
1 jar of apple butter
1 novelty pumpkin water bottle
2 gallon jugs of apple cider

There are plenty of other places to pick up a pumpkin, but few will offer the same experience and the opportunity to support a business that’s been family owned and operated for more than 30 years. Where I’m from, Swan’s is a sort of landmark — a holiday destination for sure, and hopefully a new tradition in my family.

Swan’s Pumpkin Farm
5930 Highway H
Franksville, WI
Daily, 9 a.m. – 7 p.m.

Categories: Life & Leisure

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