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Featured Business: Jerry Smith Produce & Pumpkin Farm

10/24/2016 - Kenosha Area Convention & Visitors Bureau Staff

Family-Friendly, Featured Business, Shopping
pumpkins grown at Jerry Smith Produce & Pumpkin Farm
hand painted characters from popular culture at Jerry Smith Produce & Pumpkin Farm
hand painted characters from popular culture at Jerry Smith Produce & Pumpkin Farm
famous pumpkin cookies at Jerry Smith Produce & Pumpkin Farm
hand painted characters from popular culture at Jerry Smith Produce & Pumpkin Farm
pumpkin season at Jerry Smith Produce & Pumpkin Farm

Cookies. Hayrides. Painted Pumpkin Displays. These are the things that epitomize the Fall Season at Jerry Smith Produce & Pumpkin Farm. Founded in the 1970's, the Smith Family Farm has been entertaining families with fall fun for three generations. While Jerry Smith’s is open throughout the spring and summer months, the fall season has a life of its own.

One of the most popular things coming from the farm, other than fall produce like squash and pumpkins, are the famous orange-frosted Pumpkin Farm Cookies. People get a taste of the tradition in August during the annual Sweet Corn Festival, but then they have to wait another month to enjoy the cookies again. Cookies are baked daily, and on the weekends, there is often a third shift baking crew to keep up with demand. Cookies come in either classic sugar cookie or chocolate chip varieties, but are always covered with orange frosting and brown sprinkles.

Each year about 100 acres of pumpkins are planted on the Smith property. Pumpkins are typically planted in May and grow all summer long. Pumpkins grow in warm weather – which seems counter-intuitive to their popularity during cooler autumn months. The first batches of pumpkins are usually ready by early September. These pumpkins come in all shapes, sizes and colors. Some are for carving, some are for baking, and some will be hand picked to become works of art in the painted pumpkin displays on the farm grounds.

Painted pumpkins have become a tradition in the Kenosha Area. The late Rosemary Smith, mother of current owner Joe Smith, was affectionately referred to by many in the community as “The Pumpkin Lady.” She lovingly painted faces of characters from movies and storybooks onto the front of pumpkins picked from the farm. Joe’s wife Amy, along with several family members, staff and friends of the family continue Rosemary’s tradition now. Pumpkins are hand picked to fit each character’s design. For example, in the 2016 displays, Snow White required a very round pumpkin for the Princess’s face, while Sebastian from The Little Mermaid was created from a more elongated gourd.  Character costumes are all handmade by a long-time family friend, Carol Bausano. Highlights of Carol’s work this year include a new Big Bird display, which features hundreds (maybe thousands) of feathers that Carol assembled by hand, and a stunning re-creation of Elsa from Frozen.

Fun Facts about the Fall Season at Jerry Smith’s Produce & Pumpkin Farm:
•    Nearly 100 pumpkins are used in the painted character displays.
•    Two acres of corn stalks are used to line the farm property and divide the displays.
•    Each scene takes anywhere from 4 – 6 hours to create.
•    Displays are checked daily by staff, and Carol checks costumes at least once a week.
•    Characters are stored in barns all over the farm during the rest of the year, and sometimes are repurposed after a few years to develop into new characters.
•    Sometimes crazy things happen – when the staff pulled Sully from Monsters Inc. out for the 2016 season, a colony of bees had taken residence in his left leg.
•    A team of 15 or fewer people are responsible for everything from hand picking the pumpkins and painting them to setting up the corn stalks and displays.
•    Hundreds of Pumpkin Farm Cookies are made on-site each day.
•    Pumpkin donuts are now another popular treat at the farm.
•    A haunted bus and corn maze are part of the fun that can be enjoyed during the fall season.
•    Painted hay bales are also on display – featuring Minions from Despicable Me and even the Angry Birds.

If you thought the displays at Jerry Smith’s were impressive before, you’re sure to appreciate them even more once you learn what goes on behind the scenes. The Smith Family and their team love creating the displays and seeing how families come back year after year. You can watch some of the behind the scenes process in this short video, but we highly recommend going to enjoy the farm in person this fall!

Jerry Smith is located at 7150-18th Street.

(262) 859-2645, http://www.smithpumpkinfarm.com/

October 2016

Kenosha Area Convention & Visitors Bureau Staff

Brought to you by the team at the Kenosha Area Convention & Visitors Bureau. We're here to help you find fun in the Kenosha Area. 

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