We're Glad You're Here!
Welcome to Our Farm Family!
Harvestville Farm is part of a 5th generation family farm located in Southeast Iowa. For over 100 years, our family has strived to be an ecologically friendly farm and firmly believe in being good stewards of the land. Our mission is to provide a fun, safe, educationally based rural experience for families by offering unique hands-on agricultural related activities. We also provide our freshest garden veggies, homegrown pumpkins, squash, gourds, and offer fresh cut trees and all the trimmings for your home during the holidays.
This year, our family "agri-tainment" business will celebrate its 16th year! Back in 1994, Adam started a small FFA project for high school, by raising a few pumpkins. He began his project by growing two or three short rows and sold the pumpkins from a wagon on an "honor system" in the front yard of the farmstead. After a few years, Adam went on to college, while his sister, Amber, continued the tradition. Within a few years Amber left the farm to attend college as well, while Adam's parents, Kathy and Greg Hohl, continued their diversified farm operation of corn, beans, hogs, and cattle, while still maintaining the small roadside pumpkin stand during the fall season. In 2003, however, some health issues arose within the family, which resulted in the difficult decision to eliminate the livestock from the farm. During this time, Adam, and his wife Julie, who were living in St Louis at the time after recently getting married, began traveling to the farm as often as possible to help maintain the family's generation farm. As the family farm's main focus quickly turned to the row crops, Adam, Julie and Adam's mom, Kathy, began brainstorming ways to supplement the income that was gained from having livestock. Their thoughts quickly turned to the pumpkins that Adam started years prior and the ideas came flooding in! So...in 2004 we took a giant leap of faith, planted five acres and began to sell them from the farmstead that fall. Needless to say - We were hooked!
Throughout the next two years, our little "pumpkin business" began to really take off and we quickly realized we loved interacting with our customers during those few weekends in the fall. A common thread was immediately noticed among all of our customers: a growing desire for an authentic rural experience. So, in 2006 after leaving a management and a teaching position behind in St. Louis, Adam, Julie, and Kathy, decided to take the "pumpkin business" head on. Since then and after following the guidance of our customers, we have expanded from a fall focused business, into a three season operation and has since become one of the LARGEST pumpkin growers in the tri-state area!
Beginning on weekends in April and throughout the spring and summer months, we sell a variety of plants, annuals, bedding plants, house plants, fresh homegrown veggies and locally grown fruits from the farm, while offering a wide variety of home decor and gift items. In 2014 we were pleased to open an addition to our farm called "The Pitchfork Cafe" where customers can enjoy a freshly prepared lunch or some homemade breads or cobblers right at the farm, along with our Farm to Table Dinners held throughout the months of April through August. Guests can enjoy a five course meal prepared by a locally renowned chef using the freshest ingredients straight from our garden. For more information please check out our "Farm to Table" Page. We are pleased to have been rated "The #1 Farm to Table Dinner Experience in the state by Travel Iowa!" Check out the article here!
In the Fall we have over 40 acres of pumpkins, squash, and gourds featuring over 150+ different varieties along with LOTS of family activities appropriate for all ages: 10 Acre Corn Maze, Bonfire Sites, Scenic Horse Drawn Wagon Rides, and two LARGE Play Areas featuring: GIANT Corn Pool, Jumping Pillow, Tire Pyramids, Two Large Trike Tracks, "Rubber Ducky" Races, Giant Slide, Hay Bale Jump, Horse and Tractor Swings, Wiggle Cars, Flying Turtles, Large Sand Box, Play House, General Store, Workshop and Garden Shed, Corn Holes, Human Hamster Wheels, Pumpkin Bowling, Tether Balls, Tug - of - War, Giant Yard Games and NEW Pumpkin Pad!
As winter approaches, our barn completely transforms into a winter wonderland featuring the freshest trees, wreaths, boughs, gift items and all the trimmings for your home. Our trees are beautiful and travel to us from Nelson Family Tree Farm in Wisconsin ranging from 4' - 12' tall.
Planting and Harvesting:
Our “planning” for the planting season begins in November and December of the previous year. All summer veggie seeds and pumpkin seeds are ordered by the 2nd week of January to ensure that we receive the varieties that best fit our soils and climate. Our commercial seed catalogues come about the end of October, and even though we may be picking the last of the pumpkins and squash, we must begin researching new varieties for the following year. Thousands of seeds begin arriving the first of February, and for several weeks it’s just like Christmas when the UPS truck pulls into the driveway! All orders must be verified, and then the sorting begins! Garden Seeds get organized by veggie and variety, along with the flowers and sweet corn seed. Pumpkins are simply organized into small, medium, and large. Treated seeds and untreated seeds. Heirloom squash seeds must be separated from hybrid seeds. FarMore treated seeds must be separated from traditional seeds. Gourds are sorted according to size and variety, and the planting maps are begun.
In the meantime, all the early veggie seeds travel to our high tunnel where they are germinated and started in seed flats. Tiny seedlings must be transplanted into larger cells in order to be ready for transplanting into the garden after the danger of frost is past. Cabbage, Broccoli, Cauliflower, Romaine Lettuce, Chard, Bok Choi, Pac Choi, Peppers, Eggplant, and Tomatoes are all transplanted into the garden. The rest of the vegetables are seeded directly into the soil. We have a small push seeder to seed the beans, radish, beets, etc., but the rest are all still transplanted by hand into rows of plastic mulch. The transplants that go into the plastic mulch have a drip irrigation strip that runs down the center of the plastic, so if Mother Nature does not cooperate with enough rain, we can irrigate those more water sensitive crops. We hope to always begin harvest by mid-May, and continue 2nd, 3rd, and 4th plantings through the middle of July. Our sweet corn is planted conventionally in a larger field. Throughout the summer, our hand hoe remains our best friend.
After the early veggies are in the ground, planting begins for our fall harvest. Each year we plant roughly 150+ different varieties of pumpkins, squash, and gourds. This makes us one of the LARGEST pumpkin growers in the Tri-State Area! The planting process takes us approximately two days. Not too long after our pumpkins are planted is when our attention turns to the planting our large 10-acre corn maze. The maze is cross planted and allowed to grow a few inches before the marking and cutting of the maze begins. No GPS here. The entire maze is marked, sprayed and cut all by hand. Maintenance of the maze is never ending throughout the summer months to ensure that the paths are safe and ready to go by the first of September.
As soon as seeds are planted in the ground, our fields and gardens are constantly monitored for growth, weed control, and any signs of possible disease. Integrated pest management techniques are used meaning pesticides are used minimally and only when a specific crop is affected. Our soils are tested annually and fertilizer is used in specific amounts for the crop needs. Cover crops are also used for rotation as well as conservation measures. We find these methods to be the safest for the environment. Each year our crops require several hundred hours of hand hoeing. In addition to all of the hard work, we rely on Mother Nature to give us enough rain and sunshine for a beautiful crop.
By June, our squash and pumpkin crops are on their way with lengthy vines and beautiful yellow and white flowers. To help with the pollination process, we bring in bees from local beekeepers Ray and Dave Tull from Donnellson. We strive to have one bee hive per acre with each hive containing between 40,000 – 45,000 bees. They are very important piece to the puzzle to having a successful crop. Without the bees help, we would only have a fraction of the produce we harvest each year.
After pollination occurs, the pumpkins/squash start growing and within 45 days, some of our first product is ready to be picked. All 40 acres of pumpkins, squash, and gourds are then hand picked from the field.