This year, for the second time, Guy Farm in Trim, Co. Meath, has opened its gates to the public, attracting thousands of visitors to see its pumpkin patch and spooky bales during the month of October.
John and Barbara Guy are originally produce farmers working mostly with carrots, beef and grain. With a young family, they found themselves struggling to find pumpkins one Halloween, with most shops sold out.
Fortunately, they eventually found some in an honesty box – which led them to their venture today.
The family saved the seeds from inside their pumpkins through the winter, planted them in spring, and were pleasantly surprised at the resulting crop.
With a large amount of pumpkins, they decided to open up their site, expecting some friends and family to visit.
They were shocked when they received over 3,500 visitors, and have now begun opening every weekend in October, and doing school tours during the week.
They sell 15 different varieties of pumpkins on the farm and some through an honesty box outside their gate, and have embellished the farm with other family-friendly additions.
John told Agriland that opening to the public and seeing the reactions of visitors brings him a different sense of “enjoyment”.
He added that it’s more than just the sale of the pumpkin, it’s the experience of seeing the bale art and maze.
“The kids are wowed because of the bale art, and the tractor, and a cat, and minions, and the parents are wowed with the muck,” he said.
There’s “little maintenance” in pumpkin growing according to John, who said that Christmas time is the best period to decide on different varieties for growth.
From May onwards, pumpkin seeds can be planted indoors, and then after about three weeks they are moved outdoors.
The Meath farmers added that their production is completely organic. Due to dry weather this year, John said he did have to irrigate the crop.
For the pumpkins to ripen up a bit quicker, they can be snipped from the ground.
However, John said he wouldn’t snip all of them, as “people like to see them and pick them and do it themselves”.
John said that running the farm wouldn’t happen without his wife, Barbara, children, Seán, Eimear, and Conor, extended family, friends, electricians, carpenters, and many people helping with planning and art work.