By Abby Bell
Andy and Jackie Ditmyer have a passion for pumpkins.
Red Barn Farm began half a decade ago with 300 pumpkin plants and the Ditmyer’s have now grown their country acres into a community celebration of harvest season. Located on 5 Mile Road in Sault Ste. Marie, the Red Barn Farm has grown so popular that the Ditmyer family planted over 1,300 pumpkins this spring to keep up with growing community anticipation.
“It’s a wholesome family activity,” said owner, Andy Ditmyer. “Everything we have here is geared for kids to enjoy.”
A usual harvest weekend consists of a visit to the pumpkin patch, a hayride, pumpkin smashing, concession stand treats, farm animals to pet, and – plenty of pumpkins to pick! Every year, the Ditmyer family has a different creative vision for the harvest weekend, which has included a giant teeter-totter, a corn maze, mystery pumpkins hidden in the pumpkin patch, and giant hay bale creations.
A highlight for kids and parents alike is to spend time in the barn enjoying the company of the Ditmyer’s many farm animals. Visitors can expect to see horses, cows, goats, an alpaca, lambs, pigs, rabbits, ducks, a peacock, chickens, cats, dogs, a python, and a friendly turkey named Gladys. The chickens are known to be especially welcoming if you sneak them a few bites of your freshly popped popcorn from the concession stand.
“We really opened up the farm over the past few years,” said Jackie Ditmyer. “We wanted people to be able to come out to see the animals and enjoy the land.”
After enjoying the many fun activities around Red Barn Farm, visitors can purchase a pumpkin from the freshly picked pumpkin patch to take home for carving, or just a great autumn decoration.
“We grow all our pumpkins by seed and plant them as a family on the nights and weekends,” said Andy Ditmyer. “It’s fun.”
Red Barn Farm is a family-run operation that requires all hands on deck in planting and harvest seasons. The Ditmyers rely on their children, 12-year old Braden and 8-year old Emma, and hire six local high school students for help throughout the harvest weekends. The Ditmyers, also own a landscaping company, Little Man Services, and Jackie works full-time at the Chippewa County Health Department.
“We need a lot of help to ensure the events are successful, said Jackie Ditmyer. “We rely on our kids, family, friends, and local high school students to help in preparation for our harvest events.”
Red Barn Farm now hosts two harvest weekends each fall for the community. Fall 2020 events are tentatively scheduled for September 26-27 and October 3-4 but could fluctuate depending on the weather and COVID-19 regulations. The harvest event caters to families with young children and it’s an affordable event for all to enjoy.
Interested in attending a harvest weekend at the Red Barn Farm? Details on the harvest weekend will be posted in the Sault News community pages and as an event on Facebook.