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Scandia farm rolls out the pumpkin season

SCANDIA — It’s harvest time again.

And for Ken and Mary Lou Jensen, owners of Scandia Valley Farm, that means stories in the pumpkin theatre, lots of flowers being fed to their goats and the sound of laughter coming from their corn maze.

“I sure look forward to the children coming by,” Mary Lou commented of their pumpkin patch season, which is now open through Halloween.

The Jensens have been a mainstay in the pumpkin business since they moved to Scandia in 1988. They helped legends Dwight and Pauleen Droz plant pumpkins and veggies and then took over the business when the Drozes decided to retire.

“Dwight told me, ‘When you and I are gone, nobody’s going to do this anymore. Nobody will work this hard,’” Ken commented.

But their familiar fruit stand and pioneer-style clothing was absent for two seasons while the Jensens were doing missionary work in Denmark for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. They returned last year and both said last season went fairly well, but they really only made enough money to pay their army of helpers. This year, the farm is a two-person operation and they have high hopes for a successful season.

“There’s certainly more school groups coming through this year and a lot more people know we’re back, so I think it’ll go well,” Mary Lou said.

Indeed, it appears that the traditional pumpkin patch is fading in Kitsap County. Red Cedar Farm bowed out for at least one season this year, leaving Scandia Valley as the only public pumpkin patch in North Kitsap. The next closest patch is Pheasant Field Farm in Silverdale.

Anyone is welcome to visit Scandia Valley Farm’s roadside stand to pick out fall veggies, harvest decorations and, of course, pumpkins. Everything they sell comes from the fields on their 6.5-acre farm. Real pumpkin patch fanatics are also welcome to wander the rows and rows of pumpkins in search of the perfect jack-o-lantern medium. When asked how many pumpkin varieties he grew this year, Ken just scratched his head and said, “You want me to count them all?”

But wander among the rows and he’ll point them out to you. Like the Howden Biggies, a pumpkin pie colored beauty that can grow up to 50 pounds; Magic Lanterns, a sunset-orange version shaped like a Cinderella coach; and even small sugar pumpkins for the cooks. Ornamentals like the all-white Baby Boo are back and there are yet a few of the green and orange speckled Khaki, which has hull-less seeds that can be eaten without being roasted.

“I almost have 25-30 ton out here,” Ken said while surveying his fields. “We probably sell more pumpkins than any other outlet in the county, including the stores.”

The farm offers individual and group tours. For a small fee, visitors can see the resident animals including goats, sheep, rabbits, chickens and piglets. Tours also include a special story from Ken (AKA Farmer Jensen) in the pumpkin theatre. The story, telling the life of a pumpkin from seed to jack-o-lantern, includes audience participation and usually has young and old in stitches.

“He works with the kids and talks with the kids,” Mary Lou said. “They do hand gestures and ask questions. They really enjoy it.”

Time in the “cornfounding” corn maze is also included in each tour. Last year was the first time that Scandia Valley offered a corn maze. As with last season, Farmer Jensen actually plotted out the maze and planted corn in a maze shape instead of planting rows of corn and knocking down a path. The interconnected series of circles includes sweet and ornamental corn stalks and takes visitors right by the chicken coop.

“I had two girls come with their grandmother one day and they weren’t really impressed by anything,” Ken said. “But when they came out of the corn maze, they were so excited and their faces were flushed. Boy, they really got into that.”

Each tour visitor also gets to pick a pumpkin from one of the Jensens’ pumpkin patches.

The Jensens also even have a special outdoor seating area at the 100-year-old farmhouse set up to host birthday parties and other gatherings.

Sidebox

Scandia Valley Farm

16624 Scandia Road NW

9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday through Oct. 31

Info: (360) 779-3353, (360) 649-7756 or http://users.acninc.net/jensmiss.

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