Over the years, a trip to Vala’s Pumpkin Patch has become a tradition for many families. As we head into our 35th year of operation, we are proud to welcome a second generation of parents who remember visiting Vala’s when they were children. As thousands of eager guests flood Vala’s Pumpkin Patch in the fall, it’s hard to believe it all started as a small business with a simple vision of creating a family-friendly, farm experience.
Vala’s Pumpkin Patch founder, owner, visionary and farmer, Tim Vala, grew up as a city boy in Omaha, Nebraska. After earning a B.A. Degree in Education from Nebraska Wesleyan University, and having trouble finding a full-time job in the school systems, he had the wild idea that he could become a farmer. Luckily, he came upon some land he could buy a little at a time, and then he bought a tractor that he didn’t know how to drive home, and he planted fruits and vegetables he didn’t know how to grow. But research, self-education and perseverance helped him succeed. Today, Vala’s Pumpkin Patch has grown into a 400-acre operation with nearly 55 acres of pumpkins planted every year.
As the business was growing, every member of the Vala family contributed, providing both special skills and cheap labor. Jan Vala, also a graduate of Nebraska Wesleyan University, worked for many years as a school psychologist in the Omaha Public Schools. At Vala’s, she took on the crucial business roles of marketer, merchandise manager, personnel manager and accountant. Today she works full time for Vala’s Pumpkin Patch, and is known to always remember each of the 1000+ employees’ names.