Pitching a patch

Echo family starts a new venture with a fundraising twist

Photo by Jody Isaackson The Pederson Pumpkin Patch food stand is currently showing a display of a variety of pumpkins that will be available for purchase over the next few weekends. Displaying their T-shirts are Aubrey Pederson, 8, Mallory Pederson, 10, Karen Pederson and Natalie Pederson.

ECHO

There’s a new pumpkin patch in the area.

With the Holmberg Orchard closed, the Pedersons of rural Echo thought they should fill the void for fall harvest entertainment. With a twist.

The twist was to add a fundraising aspect to it in addition to the games the Pederson family members would run.

The first weekend the Pederson Pumpkin Patch will be open is Sept. 15 and 16. The food vendor for that weekend is Habitat for Humanity. All the food sales proceeds will go to that charity.

“There will be a different vendor each weekend through October 20 and 21,” Natalie Pederson said. “There are church groups, booster clubs, an Alzheimer group, The Lakeview Preschool and the Lakeview Washington D.C. Trip fundraiser. I will be updating our Facebook page each week to announce the following weekend’s vendor.”

Natalie Pederson went to her mother-in-law, Karen Pederson, last fall with this idea that they both thought would work — with the help of the rest of the family.

“It was Natalie’s idea,” Karen Pederson said. “Last fall she approached me with a partial business plan that included activities. We forgot about it over the winter, but when spring came, we got some pumpkin seed and planted it.”

The Pederson Pumpkin Patch is one full acre of pumpkins, they said. Several varieties, in fact. And gourds.

“We have assorted decorative pumpkins,” Natalie said. “There are white pumpkins, orange pumpkins and variegated gourds. We have Knucklehead pumpkins and gourds – those with lots of warts.”

“Warts are a characteristic of the Knucklehead variety,” Karen Pederson said.

Natalie’s husband, Scott, and Karen’s husband, Dave, are helping out, but the activities will be “manned” by the children. Sydney, 12, Mallory, 10, and Aubrey, 8, are all excited about the opportunity to do something besides plant, weed and harvest the pumpkins and gourds.

“I’m running the pumpkin bowling,” Mallory Pederson said.

“We’re using straw bales to build the alley,” Karen Pederson said.

“And using pumpkins for bowling balls,” Natalie Pederson said.

“I’m running the bounce house,” Aubrey Pederson said.

Karen Pederson said that Sydney would be helping with parking and that each girl would have an adult to help them with their activity.

“Dave’s sisters will also be coming out to help with all the activities,” Karen Pederson said, like pumpkin tic-tac-toe.

“We’ll spray paint the boxes on the grass and paint X’s and O’s on the pumpkins to play the game,” Karen Pederson said. “They’ve all tested the bounce house to make sure it’s working.”

When the Pedersons were first planning the project, they had contacted the owners of Holmberg Orchard for advice. They told the Pedersons which seed company they had used.

“We called them and they gave us some good tips,” Karen Pederson said. “We found out it was easy to grow pumpkins.”

The Pedersons plan to make this an annual event even though they will have to plant pumpkins every spring, they said.

“We’ll try different varieties each year,” Karen Pederson said. “It’s a learning experience.”

Pederson’s Pumpkin Patch is location 6 miles north of Echo on Highway 67, one mile west and a quarter mile north, at 2116 600th St. Pumpkin patch hours are from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday each weekend through Oct. 21.

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