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The Great Pumpkin

Pumpkin picking fun for the whole family

Hudson Shane, 7, of Clarinda, flies through the air on a zipline in October 2017 at Twisted Stalk pumpkin patch in Lenox. Twisted Stalk is open every Saturday and Sunday in October.
Hudson Shane, 7, of Clarinda, flies through the air on a zipline in October 2017 at Twisted Stalk pumpkin patch in Lenox. Twisted Stalk is open every Saturday and Sunday in October.

Visiting a pumpkin patch and picking just the right pumpkin to carve is almost a rite of passage for any small town child.

Families looking for a fun afternoon activity have their choice of two different pumpkin picking experiences within 30 miles of Creston.

Twisted Stalk – Lenox

Lincoln Calvin, owner of Twisted Stalk, said he was looking at Facebook about four years ago and he noticed that families were traveling great distances to visit a pumpkin patch.

“I owned a small piece of land, and I built a building on it, and I wasn’t utilizing it all that well,” said Calvin. “I thought, ‘Why don’t I just put a corn maze and pumpkin patch and I can set up a card table and I can sell Snickers bars and Coca-Colas to all the kids that come in?’”

The rest is history, so to speak, as the small endeavor grew immensely in those four years.

In addition to a pumpkin patch where children can pick their own pumpkin and a corn maze, Twisted Stalk offers a full array of activities for families including pony rides, hay rides, a petting zoo, a corn pit, similar to the ball pit at fast food restaurants, and a pond where children can feed goldfish, bass, crappie and bluegills all contained on roughly 15 acres west of Lenox. Not to leave parents out, Twisted Stalk also offers live music.

“It (the corn pit) is probably the biggest attraction that is there to tell you the truth,” said Calvin. “The parents will drag their kids out of there kicking and screaming and crying because they just love to play in the corn. Every kid goes home with a pocket full of corn. I know how many bushels I put in and I know how many bushels come out, and I tell you, I lose about about 100 bushels every year. It’s gotta be in shoes and socks and pockets.”

Twisted Stalk will host a pie eating contest Oct. 22 with three classes for children and adults, and an outdoor movie, which will be open to the public. Popcorn, hamburger and hot dogs will be served during the movie.

Calvin said admission into the pumpkin patch the day of the movie will pay for the movie as well, but separate admission for only the movie will also be available for those who do not visit the pumpkin patch.

There is a general admission charge to enter the pumpkin patch with additional charges for pony rides and if the children want to feed the fish or the animals in the petting zoo. Twisted Stalk is open Saturdays and Sundays in October. Check Twisted Stalk’s Facebook page frequently for time and updates.

“We try to keep everything at the bare minimum cost once they do their general admission,” said Calvin. “We’re trying not to nickel and dime everybody that comes through the door. We want to make it affordable for everybody.”

He said he couldn’t make Twisted Stalk work if it wasn’t for the help of great family and friends as well as the support of a handful of sponsors that help keep the pumpkin patch up and running.

“The biggest thing about the pumpkin patch and the corn maze is I’m the biggest kid there,” said Calvin. “That’s the only way I can make it work.”

Clover Hill Orchard – Mount Ayr

Located south of Mount Ayr, Clover Hill Orchard offers a pick-your-own apple orchard and pumpkin patch.

Primarily an orchard that produces a variety of apples, Clover Hill also produces honey and recently added the pumpkin patch.

“We have had our apple orchard since 2013,” Kim Curry said. “We started with pumpkins about two years ago. My husband, Dan, really wanted to have a pumpkin patch – kind of just a one-stop shop for people to come and enjoy time with their kids.”

The orchard is ready for picking, said Kim, who co-owns Clover Hill with her husband, Daniel. Check Clover Hill’s Facebook page for times and updates, or the orchard can be open by appointment.

This year, however, the pumpkin patch, which is just over two acres, will be closed because Curry said the patch was overrun with weeds. They will however, still have pumpkins available.

There is no cost to visit Clover Hill Orchard.

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