Agri-Entertainment: You Can Bet the Farm On It
Established in 1982, they are considered the Granddaddy of local pumpkin farms and hold the distinction of being the very first pumpkin patch in Snohomish, Washington. Craven Farm, located between Lord’s Hill and the Snohomish River spans 70 acres and is comprised of pumpkins, corn maze, barns, farm animals, and Farmer Mark Craven.
Originally a dairy farm, Craven Farm was purchased by Mark’s grandparents, Walt and Lydia Krieger, nearly 65 years ago. Like most farmers, the Kriegers worked hard milking cows, working the fields, cultivating berry patches, sewing, and baking. Lydia was one of the first farmers in the area to sell strawberries to local stores.
However, Craven Farm of today operates a little differently than its 1937 counterpart. Due to import/export changes and the availability of fresh produce in the last 30 plus years, farmers across the country have had to adapt to decreasing needs for local goods. But farms are still relevant to the community; today’s consumers are in the market for a farming experience.
Agri-entertainment and agritourism refer to consumer-focused forms of agriculture, in which farms supplement (or replace) their traditional income from the sale of crops to wholesale markets by offering a variety of “entertainment farming” options.
These agri-entertainment options include: pick-your-own operations, pumpkin patches, corn mazes, farm stores, agricultural festivals, and educational activities.
In terms of agritourism, Craven Farm offers a gamut of services: hay rides, pumpkin slinging, face-painting, kettle corn, espresso, corn mazes, late night “haunts,” a gift shop, and rental facilities for weddings and reunions.
Craven Farm still offers fresh, locally grown produce, including their sweet corn, gourds, and many varieties of squash. While the growing season peaks in the summer, agri-entertainment extends the season throughout the fall and winter months.
Pumpkin Patch and Corn Maze
September 29 – October 31
Monday through Sunday
9:30am until dark
No admission to farm
Most Friday/Saturday evenings
Admission: $20 for 2 haunts
Vintage Holiday Show
November 17, 2012
10am to 3pm
16th Antique “Tailgate” Sale
June 29, 2013
8am to 1pm
Q: What is your most favorite aspect to your business? Least favorite?
A: Our favorite part is being able to share our farm with so many families throughout the Puget Sound area. Some children would never get to experience a farm. We feel that it is very important for children (adults too) to know where their food comes from. Our least favorite part would be the weather, rain makes for a poor season and LOTS of mud!
Q: How do you feel about “entertainment farming”?
A: Agri-entertainment has made it possible for us to continue farming and stay on the farm. In some ways it has made it commercial, but we have tried to keep our farm as “farmy” as possible and still have a safe place for people to come.
Q: What do you attribute to your success?
Our success had been from a lot of very hard dedicated work and a lot of very wonderful dedicated visitors that come year after year and now they are bringing their babies back. It truly warms our hearts to know that we made such a positive impression in the adults’ lives that they want to share it with their little ones – a true family tradition!
Q: How do you network in the farming industry?
A: We belong to a group called the Snohomish Valley Festival of Pumpkins – Farms doing the pumpkin patch agri-entertainment thing.
Q: Are you hiring?
A: Yes we hire for weekend work in October. Having a health card helps.
Q: What charities do you support?
Q: What message would you like to get out to the public about your business?
A: We appreciate all the support over the last 30 years…without them we would not be here. Our promise to them is to keep our farm a “family friendly” farm, a safe place to bring their young children to see farm animals and enjoy picking their very own pumpkins. Always bring a camera – there are hundreds of chances to get that very special family photo!
Q: What three words best describe you?
A: Dedicated, hopeful and very blessed!
Reference: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Agri-entertainment; September 12, 2012.