Opening Day September 11th, 2014!

Welcome to The Pumpkin Patch!

Yes, we love pumpkins! Because we love them so much, we take the utmost care with our pumpkins. We grow them and we sell them to you: simple and old-fashioned.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Along with our love of pumpkins, we hold family togetherness very close to our hearts. In today’s busy world, we know how special it is to spend time together.

So, at The Pumpkin Patch, you can be sure that that special day out with your family will be a day you will always hold dear.

This fall, our family can’t wait to meet your family.

See What the 2013 Season was like at The Pumpkin Patch

SK_Fall_Pumpkin_Patch_(5137266484)

Wow, Halloween has already come and gone! Yes, our 2013 season is over, but what a great season it was  (WREX.com “Illinois’ Nations Largest Pumpkin Producer”)(WTVO.com “Time to Harvest Pumpkins”)(WIFR.com “Pumpkin Crop Looking Good”). 

This season, we got to see all of our friends again! We are so blessed to be apart of so many family memories. We have been in business for over thirty years, and some of you have been visiting the farm for the entire length of our business. To see some of the great family memories from The Pumpkin Patch, visit our Pinterest Board, “Family Memories from The Pumpkin Patch.”

This season, we continued our adamant support of our great community of Boone County Illinois. We gave a thank you back to our police force through something every officer loves-free coffee and donuts (WREX.com “Pumpkin Patch Honors Local Officers”). We gave our deep appreciation to the great Boone County farmers and their families by hosting Farmer’s Day which featured an antique tractor show curated by the Northern Illinois Antique Tractor Club. And we partnered with The Illinois Secretary of State’s Office to host “Give Your Guts” day, a special Halloween organ donation registration drive.

Yes, Halloween has come and gone, but we already can’t wait for next year. So we hope life treats you well in these upcoming months, and we can’t wait to see you again in fall 2014.

Do You Know Where Jack-o’-lanterns Come From?

640px-Jack-o'-lantern_trio

At the Pumpkin Patch in Caledonia, Illinois, we love pumpkins! There are so many wonderful things you can do with a pumpkin. Out of the many fall crops, the pumpkin is one of the most versatile harvest fruits.

But the one thing everybody loves to use their pumpkin for is Jack-o’-lanterns. But why? Who thought to carve up a pumpkin and put a candle inside?

Well, here is a brief answer to that question. Here is a small account of the history of the Jack-o’-lantern.

The history and use of the Jack-o’-lantern comes from Ireland. When the Irish immigrated to America, they brought the history and the traditions of their homeland with them. The Jack-o’-lantern was one of those traditions (History.com).

Did you know that originally the Irish carved their Jack-o’-lanterns out of turnips, potatoes, and even squashes. This is because those crops were more prevalent in Ireland. It wasn’t until the Irish came to America that pumpkins began being used to make Jack-o’-lanterns. Pumpkins quickly became the favorite crop for Jack-o’-lanterns because of their size, which make pumpkins much easier to hollow out and carve designs into (About.com).

But why carve into pumpkins or any other crop in the first place? The making of Jack-o’-lanterns comes from the Irish folk tale of Stingy Jack.

In short, the story goes that Stingy Jack was a trickster. So much so that he was even able to trick the Devil. He tricked the Devil into promising that when Jack died he would not take his soul. Despite his agreement with the Devil, Jack still died. But when he got to Heaven, St. Peter wouldn’t let him in. He said Jack was too mean of a person, and sent Jack to Hell. But when Jack got to Hell, the Devil wouldn’t let him in either because of his promise to never take Jack’s soul (History.com).

So Jack was forced to wander the Earth. But before Jack left the gates of Hell, the Devil tossed him a burning ember to light his way across the world. Jack took the ember and placed it inside a turnip and thus made a lantern (About.com).

And now instead of carving out turnips, we carve up pumpkins in memory of this Irish folk tale.

For further reading on the history of the Jack-o’-lantern, check out these great articles:

http://urbanlegends.about.com/od/halloween/a/Why-Do-We-Carve-Pumpkins-On-Halloween.htm

http://www.history.com/topics/jack-olantern-history

 

Yes, we love pumpkins! Because we love them so much, we take the utmost care with our pumpkins. We grow them and we sell them to you: simple and old-fashioned. So this fall when you’re drafting up your Jack-o’-lantern design, we’ll have all the great big pumpkins you’ll need to make this Halloween season your favorite season.

So come out to see us at the Pumpkin Patch in Caledonia, Illinois. Our family can’t wait to meet your family.

See How The Pumpkin Patch Gives Back to Our Local Community

640px-Dandelion_Farms

“No one has ever become poor by giving.”

-Anne Frank

Charity and generosity are what make our society so strong and vibrant. We strongly believe that no one can do more for our world than a generous person.

At the Pumpkin Patch in Caledonia, Illinois, we strive to give back as much as we can. As a long standing business in our community, we believe we have an obligation to give back to our community, a community that has to given so much back to us.

Every season, we support the March of Dimes and the Boone County Food Pantry.

The March of Dimes is an organization that helps pregnant “moms take charge of their health,” and supports “families when something goes wrong” with their child’s delivery (MarchofDimes.com). The March of Dimes helps locally, nationally, and internationally. They provide  assistance and information to moms and families throughout their pregnancy, and they research the causes that affect and harm childbirth.

At the Pumpkin Patch, whenever you purchase an item at our farm, we will ask you to donate to the March of Dimes. For your contribution, we place a pumpkin sticker with your name on it inside our barn. For every contribution you give to the March of Dimes, we match it-penny for penny; dollar for dollar. This way, we can work together as a community and raise more support together than we could apart.

Where the March of Dimes works both locally and abroad, the Boone County Food Pantry gives back specifically to Boone County, Illinois. The food pantry works “to help those facing hard times until they are able to be self-sufficient” (BBCFoodPantry.com). Their mission “is to give people hope and to make a difference in their lives” (BBCFoodPantry.com).

The Pumpkin Patch is located in Caledonia, Illinois which is on the North side of Boone County Illinois. From border to border, Boone County is close-knit community. But Boone County Illinois, just as many other communities in our nation, has been hit hard by the recent economic recession. But because we are all neighbors here in Boone County, we all help each other, and the Boone County Food Pantry has served our home community faithfully in our time of need.

So, we do everything we can to support the Boone County Food Pantry. Every season, we donate the extra food from our cafe to the Boone County Food Pantry. All of our food is made fresh, so all of our donations are fresh.

For more information on these organizations, here are links to their home web pages:

http://www.marchofdimes.com/mission.aspx

 

http://www.bbcfoodpantry.com/about/about-the-pantry/

 

The Pumpkin Patch believes in supporting our community, believes in giving back. This fall, come out to our farm to pick up your delicious fall pumpkins, and help us give back to our community by helping us support both the March of Dimes and the Boone County Food Pantry.

Why One Building from Caledonia, Illinois has Stood for Over One Hundred Years

The Pumpkin Patch has been growing pumpkins for over thirty years! Our farm is located in the scenic town of Caledonia, Illinois, and even though we’ve been in business for over thirty years, the history of our wonderful town goes much further back in time. And we love our town! So we have a very deep appreciation for the rich history and the wonderful stories of our home town of Caledonia, Illinois.

One of the interesting stories from our little town on the top of Boone County, Illinois is the story of The Chamberlain Hotel.

In 1853, the railroad came to our town of Caledonia. The railroad had begun expanding out from Chicago to Boone County starting in 1848, and in 1849, the first cargo load was transported from Belvidere to western Chicago. After this initial success, the railroad expanded to other parts of Boone County, and the train line reaching from Chicago to Galena branched out to reach our little town. A branch from this train line ran from Belvidere to Beloit, Wisconsin, and included a stop in our town of Caledonia, Illinois. Along with this line, another line was added that spanned from Rockford, Illinois to Kenosha, Wisconsin, which also included a stop in Caledonia (Doyle 53).

With this new traffic running through Caledonia, new businesses began to spring up. In the 1860’s, William Gilkerson and R.H. Emerson built a hotel to accommodate the people traveling through Caledonia. The ownership of the hotel was eventually transferred to Catherine Chamberlain in 1878, and the hotel was renamed The Chamberlain Hotel. Because of the many people commuting through Caledonia, The Chamberlain Hotel became one of the most prominent business in Caledonia (Doyle 53).

With the passage of time, as we know, automobiles overtook the railroad as a preferred method of transportation. With the loss of the railroad’s popularity, businesses began to move to follow where the people were going. So, eventually, the once thriving Chamberlain Hotel fell out of business (Boone County Bicentennial Commission 34).

Despite losing its business, the actually building of The Chamberlain Hotel stood for many years. But finally by the 1970’s (over one hundred years after it was built!), since it was unused, the building began to fall into disrepair (Boone County Bicentennial Commission 34).

However, the buidling was able to live on. The Chamberlain Hotel was moved from its original location in Caledonia to Midway Village Museum in Rockford, Illinois. It now sits alongside the other historic buildings that form Midway Village’s recreated town, and you can go and see this building that played such an important role in our town’s history and in the history of Boone County (Boone County Bicentennial Commission 34). For more information on visiting The Chamberlain Hotel, click here for Midway Village’s official website:

http://www.midwayvillage.com/wordpress/.

At The Pumpkin Patch, we strongly believe in supporting and cherishing our local heritage, or in other words, we love Caledonia! So come out and visit us this fall at our farm to pick up your autumn pumpkins, and stay to see our beautiful hometown of Caledonia, Illinois! This fall, our family can’t wait to meet your family!

Works Cited

 

Boone County Bicentennial Commission. Boone County: Then and Now. N.C.: Boone County Bicentennial Commission, 1976. Print.

 

Doyle, Mike. Boone County Originals: Remarkable People and Curious Incidents.Charleston, SC: The History Press, 2010. Print.

The Inspiring Story of Hope, Kindness, and One Little Monkey

576px-Buffy-headed_Capuchin_Monkey

We are so proud to introduce to you a very special guest at The Pumpkin Patch-Ty, the Cinnamon Capuchin monkey. Ty’s home is at JoDon Farms, Incorporated, and he is visiting The Harvest Barn at The Pumpkin Patch to meet all of you this season.

Ty was welcomed into the JoDon family over thirty years ago. Sadly, when Ty was young, he was picked on by other monkeys and was unable to properly adjust to living with other monkeys. Because of this, Ty needed his own personal enclosure. Because zoo’s have such limited funding, they did not have enough room to give Ty his own space, so tragically, Ty was going to be euthanized. But JoDon Farms reached out to the zoo and saved Ty by adopting him into their family.

Now, Ty is almost forty years old! He has the personal enclosure he needs and is a joy to be around. However, Ty still carries the scars of his youth with him and cannot take a mate. He is too afraid of other monkeys to form a wholesome relationship with a mate. Working closely with the USDA, JoDon Fams have helped Ty through the trauma of his youth, and now, though he does not have a mate, Ty is safe and anxiety free because of the special and tender care he receives from JoDon Farms.

And we are so proud to work with JoDon Farms, Incorporated this season! JoDon Farms provides and cares for every animal at The Pumpkin Patch and has specialized in educational and recreational animal programs, rides, and displays for over thirty years! They have appeared on The Oprah Winfrey Show and Newton’s Apple, and they have hosted animal programs for many highly reputable clients such as Wisconsin’s Milwaukee County Zoo and Chicago’s Navy Pier. Their highly trained and professional staff hosts and cares for each of their animal programs across the nation-ensuring that each animal, in each program, receives superb care. Basically, just like The Pumpkin Patch, JoDon Farms deeply loves their family. Their family just looks a little different from ours. Theirs is a lot hairier.

If you’d like to know more about JoDon Farms, please visit their website:

http://www.jodonfarms.com/index.html

or you can contact them directly:

Phone: (262)835-2777

Fax: (262)835-2731

Email: info@jodonfarms.com

 

Here’s a Quick Way to Visit Scotland Without Even Leaving Illinois.

450px-Dunnotar_CastleThe Pumpkin Patch is located in the beautiful small town of Caledonia, Illinois. We are just below the state divide of Wisconsin and Illinois and just west of the great metropolis that is Chicago. Caledonia is a small community of just under 200 people, and we love our town!

One of the interesting facts about our town is its rich history and close association with the great nation of Scotland.

 The original founders of Caledonia were from Aberdeen, Scotland (Boone County Bicentennial Commission 32). Today, Aberdeen is the third largest city in Scotland and is “home to the country’s largest national park, a dramatically imposing coastline…, striking granite architecture,…[and] a dynamic modern arts scene” (Aberdeen-Grampian.com).

Although our little town hasn’t quite become as noteworthy as its an ancestral home, it still pridefully carries its heritage in its own name.

Caledonia is a poetic name for Scotland itself. The name literally means “the Scottish highlands.” The use of the name caledonia is first found in the writings of the poet Lucan in a.d. 64 (WikiSource.org). After its use by Lucan, the name Caledonia became frequently used in Roman literature (WikiSource.org). Along with its historical roots, the name caledonia is used in naming the Scottish landscape such as The Caledonian Canal.

The Caledonian Canal “is considered by many as one of the greatest waterways of the world” (ScottishCanals.co.uk). This canal stretches from Scotland’s east and west coast and connects both sides of the nation. Being surrounded by beautiful scenery, The Caledonian Canal is one of Scotland’s great tourist attractions. Many beautiful sights line this canal such as great forests, castles, and lochs. In fact, It is on this canal that the infamous loch ness-home of the Loch Ness Monster-is found (ScottishCanals.co.uk).

So even though we are halfway around the world from each other, our little town of Caledonia, Illinois is connected through its name and history to the great country of Scotland.

For more information about the name Caledonia, about Aberdeen, Scotland; and  about The Caledonian Canal, check out these great websites:

http://en.wikisource.org/wiki/1911_Encyclop%C3%A6dia_Britannica/Caledonia

http://www.aberdeen-grampian.com/

http://www.scottishcanals.co.uk/our-canals/caledonian-canal

So if you want a tiny taste of Scotland (plus a big taste of delicious pumpkin pie, old-fashioned doughnuts, and caramel apples!) come out and see us this fall at the Pumpkin Patch in the beautiful small town of Caledonia, Illinois. This fall, our family can’t wait to meet your family.

Works Cited

 

                   Aberdeen-Grampian.com. VistScotland.com, 2013. Web. 13 August, 2013.

                  Boone County Bicentennial Commission. Boone County: Then and Now. N.C.: Boone County Bicentennial Commission, 1976. Print.

                 ScottishCanals.co.uk. Web. 13 August, 2013.

                 WikiSource.com. Web. 13 August, 2013.

This fall, The Pumpkin Patch honors local youth organizations with “Kids Club Day”

US_Navy_030128-N-5698F-001_Boy_Scouts,_Girl_Scouts_and_Cub_Scouts_took_part_in_a_flag_raising_ceremony_

This fall, on October 6, The Pumpkin Patch hosts “Kids Club Day.” This special day honors local youth organizations such as the Boy and Girl Scouts, Awanas, and 4-H. On “Kids Club Day,” any youth wearing their club uniform will receive free admission and special recognition at The Pumpkin Patch.

The Pumpkin Patch is deeply committed to the Boone County community. With that commitment, The Pumpkin Patch understands the immense importance of raising up the next generation. Thus, “Kids Club Day” is a small way to share our deep pride and support of the many local youth organizations that teach, encourage, and inspire our next generation to be the next great leaders of our community.

 

How to spot a wild cougar this fall while picking pumpkins

MountainLion

Cougars, foxes, and porcupines, oh my! Sorry, it’s an old joke, but we’re just really excited. This fall, at the Pumpkin Patch, we’re adding a new section to our farm.

One of our favorite sections of the farm is the petting zoo, and this year, we’re expanding! This fall we are adding a new section entitled “The North American Zoo.”

The North American Zoo will feature animals from (you guessed it) North America. For example, we will be featuring cougars, foxes, and porcupines.

We love our family. We know how special it is to take time out from the hustle and bustle to make memories with your family. It is those special moments together that you will always remember.

That’s why at the Pumpkin Patch we are always adding something new. We know those days out with your family don’t happen as often as you’d like, but when they do, we want to make sure that at the Pumpkin Patch there is always something fun and exciting going on to make your day out a day you’ll always cherish.

So come out this fall to the Pumpkin Patch in Caledonia, Illinois to get all the pumpkins you need for your autumn festivities, and to get a close up look at all of those cougars, foxes, and porcupines (oh my!).

This fall, at the Pumpkin Patch, our family can’t wait to meet your family.

Do you know these 3 unique ways to utilize your entire Halloween pumpkin?

basket of fresh pumpkins

Do you know these 3 unique ways to utilize your entire Halloween pumpkin?

At the Pumpkin Patch, we have a passion for (you guessed it) pumpkins! We have been growing pumpkins for over thirty years and look forward to growing them for many more years to come. So what makes this fruit so great?

Well, here are 3 unique uses for the pumpkin:

 

1. Cooking

There are many different ways to use the pumpkin in the kitchen. Of course, you can use it in pies and breads, but did you know that the pumpkin is also wonderful for soups, stews, and even lasagna. Almost every part of the pumpkin is editable. Even the seeds taste great and make a wonderfully healthy snack.

 

2. Decorating

The pumpkin has many uses for beautifying your home. Of course everyone knows that pumpkin Jack O Lanterns are great decorations for your home. But did you know that you can also use your pumpkin as a planter, candle, and even a serving bowl. Pumpkins can even be used to make great potpourri and air fresheners!

 

3. Recycling

After you’ve carved up your Jack O Lantern or mashed up your pie filling, the pumpkin is still useful! The pumpkin is rich in nutrients, so it makes a great additive to your garden compost. And because of all of those great nutrients, your pumpkin leftovers can even be turned into DIY beauty products. Yup, your pumpkin can be turned into an exfoliating skin cream, face mask, and even body butter.

 

Yes, the pumpkin is a very versatile fruit. Here are links detailing all of our favorite uses for the pumpkin:

Pumpkin Stew 

Pumpkin Lasagna 

Slow-Roasted Pumpkin Seeds

Pumpkin Planter 

Pumpkin Candles 

Pumpkin Serving Bowls 

Pumpkin Exfoliating Cream 

Pumpkin Body Butter 

Pumpkin Exfoliating Face Mask

DIY Pumpkin Air Freshener

 

And make sure to come out to our farm in Caledonia, Illinois to pick out your pumpkins this fall season. This fall, our family can’t wait to meet your family.