Pumpkins a Plenty

Posted: September 22, 2021

The Enchanted Valley Farm offers a wide selection of unique pumpkin varieties & more

In northern DeKalb County there’s a small pumpkin farm that provides fall’s finest crops – a unique assortment of pumpkins, gourds, squash, mums, Indian corn – and some good old fashioned family fun.

The Enchanted Valley Farm is in its 7th pumpkin season. This year, owners Jason and Joni Watson are anticipating a “good year” despite the hot, dry summer weather.

What sets them apart from other farms are their very unique looking pumpkins. Sure, you will find some of the traditional orange pumpkins, but if you want the different ones this is the place to buy them!

They grow about 60 different varieties of pumpkins in all sizes on their two-acre patch. Joni says the white Snowball pumpkins are the most popular. Other favorites are: Blue Jarrahdale (grayish blue colored), Bumpy/Warty Knucklehead, Rouge Vif D’Etampes (red colored), and KaKai (orange & green striped, with good tasting seeds).

Another uniqueness is the way they grow their pumpkins with a commitment to natural practices. They have adopted organic farm practices (but are not organic certified) by choosing not to use pesticides or herbicides.

From their farm store, Joni Watson handles pumpkin sales and other items made by local artists. She also hand pours thousands of soy candles and sells them at their store, online and in other stores.

But there are trade-offs for not using chemicals. They manually weed their patch and control unwanted pests, such as aphids, with Neem oil, a natural biodegradable product. “It requires more weed management, but we’ve also seen an increase in Monarch butterflies and honeybees,” said Jason, farm production manager.

The Watsons also rotate crops on their 11-acre farm and plant cover crops such as cereal rye, oats and wheat to build soil health and increase organic matter and nitrogen in the soil.

It’s been a learning curve for this country couple. “Every year we learn a new lesson,” said Jason. “Then we have to wait until the next year to implement it.”

“Weather is such a huge factor in growing pumpkins. We are at the mercy of nature with our crops,” said Joni. She and her husband say they have “a lot of respect for farmers” and the risks they take based on unpredictable weather.

Their venture into farming on a small scale was a dream come true for them when they purchased the farm seven years ago. Jason, a DeKalb police officer, has had some farm experience, working for family members. Joni has a horticulture and floral design degree and had a flower business before becoming a pumpkin farmer.

Jason Watson is in charge of crop production and managing the pumpkin patch. They grow pumpkins using natural farm practices.

“We are grateful to our community, accepting and supporting us. There have been so many people in the wings that have helped us – farmers, family and friends, and customers.” Joni Watson

At their rural Kingston farm, located near the southwest corner of Glidden Road and Rt. 72, harvested pumpkins, gourds and squash are attractively displayed in their farm yard. They are grouped by size and price for retail sales.
The farm also sells colorful fall mums, Indian corn and corn stalks as fall decorations.

Their farm retail store, built by Jason, features some of Joni’s handcrafted soy candles, and a variety of other items from local artists. Joni has expanded her candle business to include 50 different scents which she hand pours in her basement workshop. She sells them at their farm, online, at farmers markets and in 10 stores.

Once the fall season is complete, their farm store is open on selected weekends for holiday sales of candles and other unique gifts. Their Facebook page – The Enchanted Valley Farm – has regular posts announcing their holiday schedules.

The Watsons hope to expand their agritourism business by growing vegetables in the future. But for now they welcome visitors to shop and enjoy some family fun in the outdoor play area. Their three sons: Brock, Heath and Duncan help with family fun activities.

“We grow a little every year based on the support we receive each year,” noted Joni. “We enjoy bringing families together to connect on our farm.”