The Grove ready for fall season full of fun, opening Sept. 11

For years, there has been a dream close to Taryn Kurpgeweit’s heart.

To own a pumpkin patch complete with fun and games — a place where families could come and spend the whole day having fun in the fall.

Last year, her dream came true.

The Grove opened just outside of Milford.

“I have always had a dream to have a pumpkin patch,” Taryn said. “We’re country kids. Back home in Wayne, NE, my husband’s family and my family have been farmers for generations back. We loved going to pumpkin patches when we lived there — when we went it was a whole day event with food, snacks and games and all kinds of fun.”

It was this same type of experience that Taryn dreamed of creating when she and her husband, Ben, along with their three children, moved to the Iowa Great Lakes in 2019. She worked for Lakes Regional Healthcare as a scheduling coordinator and executive assistant, but the dream was still there.

“We moved here in March of 2019 and we started talking about maybe we should think about doing a pumpkin patch up here in this area,” Taryn said.

In November of that year, the dream started to become a reality.

They found the perfect property, an acreage and house, just a few miles outside of Milford.

From that point, as each seed was planted and each building and attraction was built, the dream turned into The Grove. They opened for their first season on Sept. 19, 2020, and were open through Halloween.

Their family, along with volunteers from the community, built a number of attractions around the patch. They also learned all about growing pumpkins in their patch on the property.

“We learned a lot about growing pumpkins last year. We grew some, but we really mastered in weeds,” Taryn said with a laugh. “We got it under control and now we’re growing pumpkins.”

In addition to the pumpkins in their own patch, they will also be selling pumpkins that have been grown by some other local pumpkin lovers.

The Grove also has a corn maze that they credit to a number of generous people who donated their time and their talents.

In addition to the corn maze there is also a corn pit, a trike track, a tire playground, fire pits, a s’mores station, a burlap sack slide, a petting zoo, train rides, lawn games, concession stands and food trucks. New this year will be a mining station where kids can search for gems, crystals, rocks, arrowheads and more. Another new addition this year will be a human hamster wheel.

The inspiration for the fun is a mixture of what Taryn and her family have enjoyed doing at other pumpkin patches as well as research that she has done.

The Grove, which is just west of Milford on 220th St., is open on the weekends from 10 a.m.- 6 p.m. from Sept. 11-Oct. 30. Admission is $10 for ages 12 and older, $8 for those between ages 2-11, while children under age two are free.

When people come to The Grove this year they will pay their admission fee at the ticket booth and parking is out front. Then they will be able to pick their own pumpkins out of the field or from ones that had already been picked. They will be selling the pumpkins by weight this year.

After walking through the roughly three-acre pumpkin patch, people will be able to follow a path to the fun.

The Grove is a dream in which Taryn’s whole family participates.

“It’s not just me and my husband and our kids. It’s really a family business. I have had brothers, sisters-in-law, aunts, uncles, mom, dad, stepmom — the whole shebang come out to pitch in,” Taryn said. “They all helped our dream come true. My grandma even came and sat down in the middle of the patch for the day.”

She also credits the community who welcomed The Grove with open arms, hearts and helping hands, to their success last year.

“Everybody just wanted to be involved and the community is a huge part. It was just amazing to me,” Taryn said. “As soon as it got out what I was doing, I had messages from people and businesses asking what they could do to help, what did we need. That blew me away.”

After years and years of dreaming, Taryn is excited to be living her dream for a second season with The Grove.

“It’s been a long time and it was a crazy amount of work to get it going, but it’s been such a rewarding thing for me,” Taryn said. “It’s crazy busy, but the moment you stop and take in all the families and see the kids, parents, grandparents, enjoying themselves so much — that’s the most rewarding thing.”

And she’s not done yet. The dream lives on.

“I want it to keep growing and adding other activities and attractions. I want the community to tell me if they have any ideas. I want to make that happen,” Taryn said. “We want the community to love this place as much as we do.”

One need look no farther than Taryn, her family and The Grove to know that the old song has it right — sometimes dreams that you dare to dream really do come true.