Every fall the small old-fashioned homestead, just west of the Ford County line and along a flat section of U.S. 54, becomes Petty's Country Pumpkins.
"We started out just growing a garden with just a few plants and it grew from there," said owner Caroline Petty. "We were giving them away to friends and family and it got to where we were giving away more and more. So we started inviting people to our pumpkin patch and we began selling some from our house and at farmers markets.
Petty, who works for the Ford County appraiser's office, lives on the old Doral and Betty Raider farm and peddle their wares to travelers and locals.
The front building that had once been a farm stand is again overflowing with pumpkins and gourds of all shapes colors, and sizes.
"We've done very well and we've had a really good response," she said. "A lot of people stop on the road and pick pumpkins. Everyone is a little different, some like to pick from our pumpkins in the front and some like to pick from the patch."
Amateur pumpkin pickers will always go right for the "orange jack," which make great jack-o-lanterns, but Petty was quick to note that the "blue" or the "white" pumpkins are a great way to do some non-traditional decorating.
While many people like the ease of pumpkin buying at larger chain stores such as Dillons, Petty said that she could offer an experience that is more than just a line on a shopping list.
"The difference between [buying pumpkins at the supermarket] and coming to the patch is the fun people have," she said. "It's amazing how much fun they have. They love to pick their own pumpkins. To them it's like a treasure hunt. We have these vines everywhere and initially you can't see the pumpkins until you get out there. When you start digging you see all of these amazing colors."
Petty and her husband Tim, an oil field worker, also grow the "Cinderella" pumpkins. The massive pumpkins can weigh hundreds of pounds. The winning pumpkin at this year's Kansas State Fair weighed over 600 pounds.
"The biggest one we had this year was only 100 pounds because of the drought. To raise them that large you have to allow just one pumpkin on the vine. She does about 10 per vine. She tells people she's pro-life and doesn't want to pull the smaller pumpkins off," laughed Mr. Petty.
Petty's Country Pumpkins is open all fall from about 6 p.m. until "it's too dark to see" on weekdays and all day on weekends. Pumpkins range in price from a couple of dollars to $50 for the larger pumpkins.
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