Pumpkin Junction, what's your function?One man’s trash is another man’s treasure. For the four Dilse brothers, their treasure has sprouted up big and orange across a half-acre of land in hospitable to growing other crops in front of the family’s small grain farm. Stuart and Katie Dilse watched their sons and Scranton Public School eighth-grader Jordan, 14, fifth-grade twins Connor and Warrick, 10, and first-grader Malachi, 6, take on creation of the pumpkin patch last year.
By: Betsy Simon, The Dickinson Press
One man’s trash is another man’s treasure.
For the four Dilse brothers, their treasure has sprouted up big and orange across a half-acre of land in hospitable to growing other crops in front of the family’s small grain farm.
Stuart and Katie Dilse watched their sons and Scranton Public School eighth-grader Jordan, 14, fifth-grade twins Connor and Warrick, 10, and first-grader Malachi, 6, take on creation of the pumpkin patch last year.
“When Dad’s done planting, we start planting, which meant we were in the field starting around mid-May,” Jordan said.
In its second year, the brothers have already watched close to 600 pumpkins come up, the first of which was plucked this year near the beginning of August.
Planting was done by hand and took about two hours for the four boys to complete this growing season.
And, if there is one thing they can all agree on, it is that harvest is the best part of the business.
“That’s because all of the work is done,” Connor said when The Dickinson Press visited the patch Sept. 10.
Though the patch contains five varieties of pumpkins, Katie said only two or three have been spotted, which she speculated might be due to cross-pollination.
The patch had received 130 customers by Sept. 10, all of whom were greeted with a drink and some pumpkin talk, before the brothers led them to the patch, where they chose and were able to personally clip their pumpkins of choice from the patch.
And before they leave, customers are also asked to sign the guestbook that they will find seated at a handmade booth the boys concocted out of scraps they found around the farm.
Katie said the upcoming Pumpkin Junction business hours have not been set yet due to the boys’ busy school schedules, which they are also juggling along with the four different baseball leagues they are also involved in.
But she said customers have come to enjoy the patch from places across southwest North Dakota, like Mott, Hettinger and Bowman.The cost of the pumpkins is based on size with the tallest and biggest pumpkins being worth more, often averaging around $5 a pumpkin.
“I like to give tours through the pumpkin patch and to watch the pumpkins grow,” Malachi said about his favorite part of working with the vegetable.
Like any 21st century business, Pumpkin Junction has gone global with a Facebook page. It is the only advertising the boys do and it appears that is all they need, based on the more than 200 “likes” the page has received.
One of the Dilse’s neighbors also coined this little jingle to intrigue the interest of the patch’s potential clientele: “Pumpkin Junction, what’s your function? Selling pumpkins across this land.”
In addition to their sales, the Dilse’s also donate some of the pumpkins that come from their patch to the elderly and the School of Promise in Bowman.
“This is a great project for the kids because it keeps them focused on something,” Katie said about her sons’ pumpkin patch business. “It’s also a great activity for us to do as a family.”
Her husband shared her sentiments about how good the
pumpkin patch business is for their sons.
“They are in the patch every day looking for pumpkins after they get home from school,” Stuart said. “They’ve always helped out on the farm and in the garden, but this is a good, different kind of experience for them in many ways. They learn, through a lot of hard work, how to grow plants and how to work with customers, both of which are important.”
The Dilse brother’s pumpkin patch is located at 13308 77th St. SW in Scranton.