If you plant it, they will come. The words rang in Jim Bennett’s ears as he shot awake in September 2009. Jim had dreamed of taking his daughter to a pumpkin patch, and when he awoke that night he scribbled plans to bring that dream to life. Over the next year, Jim and his crew hand planted pumpkin seeds on the fourth-generation Bennett Farm to prepare it for a fate quite different than its 60 years as a cattle farm without a single crop grown on it.
These days, pumpkins and gourds wait on the vine in three patches as hayrides pass by daily. At the petting farm, youngsters interact with sheep, miniature horses, and miniature-miniature horses, which mice rode in the old west. Kids can also navigate a hay-bale maze, frolic in the corn crib, and race down a 36-inch, 20-foot-long pipe slide.
Chefs in the cook house craft teacakes, pork skins, and apple pies with a wood-burning stove and wash pots hanging over an open fire. In the sorghum mill, workers transform farm-grown cane syrup, which the Bennetts sell in their country store alongside handmade soap and honey from local vendors.