Family offers pumpkins, maze and more

Oh my gourd — it’s October already and that means one thing for the Kooima family.

Pumpkins.

Mark and Nancy Kooima, along with their kids Connor, Ethan, Gracia, Jolie and Troy, own and operate Pumpkins on Garfield a few miles south of Doon.

It all started with a love of pumpkins and gardening that has grown into something much more.

“I was always a pumpkin grower. I started about 10 years old,” Mark said.

After attending Dordt University and getting married, Mark started planting pumpkins again.

“We started selling off of a hay rack about 13 years ago and after a particularly wet weekend I hatched the idea I wanted to put up a heated shed,” Mark said.

That was 10 years ago and this will be their ninth season selling pumpkins and more out of the heated shed at Pumpkins on Garfield. They also sell some baked goods, jams, jellies and fall decor items.

The family spends time out in the two and half-acre pumpkin patch nearly every Saturday, in addition to some nights after school, to make sure the shed is packed with pumpkins.

“We pick most of the pumpkins, but if people really want to go out and pick their own then they can do that,” Mark said.

And this year, the shed is packed with cool pumpkins.

“The pumpkin crop is really good this year. Pumpkins prefer dry weather and that’s what we’ve seen here,” Mark said.

He estimates that they planted about 100 different varieties of pumpkins this year, but his favorite ones are a little odd looking.

“We have what we call peanut shell pumpkins that look like they have the shells of peanuts stuck to the outside of the pumpkins. They are very difficult to grow and our last decent crop of them was in 2012,” Mark said. “They are definitely very unique looking.”

In addition to the pumpkins and other items they have for sale, Pumpkins on Garfield also has a 10-acre corn maze to delight people who stop by. The cost is $7 per person over the age of 5 with a group discount rate for groups of more than 20.

“It’s challenging this year. It can take anywhere from 1-3 hours depending on if you are doing the hard, easy or medium maps that we give as options for different difficulty levels,” Mark said.

Each year the maze has a distinct design and this year the design is in the shape of a locomotive train pulling a rail car complete with a forest of evergreens.

They are open Monday-Saturday from 10 a.m.-9 p.m. and they can’t wait for you to stop by and find your perfect pumpkin.