By Olivia Johnson BALDWINSVILLE, N.Y. (NCC News)
Twenty-three years ago, David Hafner finished another season of selling wholesale pumpkins – a profession that’s been in his family for generations. As Hafner went out to empty the field of leftover pumpkins, his wife stopped him and asked if she could sell the rest of them. “So she and my daughter Katie came out here and sold them for a dollar a piece…they got rid of every last pumpkin that was in the field,” Hafner said.
Twenty-one years later, Katie’s Pumpkin Patch can expect anywhere from 200 to 400 cars of people on a busy day, Hafner said. The farm offers more than just pumpkins, too. Katie’s Pumpkin Patch sells other produce, including: gourds, squash, Indian corn, straw bales and corn stalks. They also offer $1 hayrides and free corn mazes when you purchase a product.
The success of Katie’s Pumpkin Patch does not just come from the quality of the produce, however. Hafner has been able to create a welcoming, family-like environment that keeps customers coming back year after year. “I can pretty much tell you, every year, who is going to be the first ones on the farm,” he said. During the interview, Hafner was able to point out almost every customer on the farm. He remembered details such as where they live, how many years they have come, and even details about their jobs and families.
Lucy Glouee, a member of the community who has been visiting for over twelve years, says her favorite part of coming to Katie’s Pumpkin Patch is the people. “I love the view, I love coming here…and that man [Hafner], he is so great. We really enjoy talking to him,” she said.
Hafner originally did not plan on going in to the family business. He went to school for accounting, and even had a job in the airline business for a few years. “I hated being inside. I hated being inside, doing accounting. I had to live out of a suitcase,” he said. Hafner came back to work on the farm after college. “I mean, the money would be better…but I would rather be at home, with my wife and kids – all of the time, not half of the time,” Hafner said.
Families can join the fun by visiting at either of Katie’s locations. On week days, they use a location off Route 370. On Sundays, they use a farm located at 8484 Dunham Road. The farms opened for the 2018 season on September 26th, and will stay open as long as the weather allows (most likely until the end of October, Hafner said).