One of the long-standing, rich, family traditions in Lawrence includes a visit to Schaake’s Pumpkin Patch on a beautiful autumn day. Larry was raised on this operation and took over the farming responsibilities at the young age of sixteen after his father passed away. This farm was built on integrity, work ethic and family values. These are principles that Larry and Janet feel were important to pass down to their children and now their grandchildren. For the past 40 years, Larry and Janet Schaake’s family farm has hosted thousands of urban visitors including school children and families from the northeast Kansas area and surrounding states.
In 1975, Scott and Sheila as a 4-H horticulture project, started this historic patch. On the weekends, the young Schaake kids, Scott (13), Sheila (10) and Shari (7) would load the pumpkins and spend the day by themselves selling their 4-H projects out of the back of the farm truck off highway 10. Each year more varieties were added to the patch and the demand from the public to purchase a unique fruit also began to increase. As a result, the u-pick pumpkin patch was born.
Since the beginning, our goal was to provide an affordable family entertainment and help educate the public about agriculture. Hundreds of hours of manual labor from planting to hoeing weeds is performed by the Schaake family and their grandchildren. Even today, each seed is planted by hand and more than one hundred varieties are strategically placed around the patch to enhance the great pumpkin hunt. What makes this patch unique is the opportunity to witness a traditional family farm where the focus is on your families’ entertainment and education. This patch has had no admission cost and a number of free activities and photo opportunities.
The Families of Schaake’s Pumpkin Patch