WINTERSET, Iowa – Thirteen years ago, after the Handsaker family moved to Madison County, they decided to start a pumpkin patch in their farm between St. Charles, and Winterset. They called the farm the Pumpkin Ranch.

This will be the last season for the family run business, which draws up to 30,000 visitors per season. The family has decided running the farm was taking too much family time.

“Our son will be a freshman next year, our daughter will be a senior, its really about how do we want to be spending our time,” said Jennifer Handsaker, owner of the Pumpkin Ranch. “It takes a lot of time, it’s enjoyable, but it takes a lot of time. We’ve just come to the point with our kids where we understand the years of them left at home are so short now so we just wanna be able to spend more time as a family with them.” 

On Friday there were four school busses there from West Des Moines Schools. There were some other students there from Southeast Polk, who had no class for the day. Visitors can walk through a corn maze, play in a corn pool, bounce on a big rubber pad, and ride on the hayrack out to the pumpkin patch.

“We love the families who come back every year and share the pics of their kids growing,” said Handsaker. “We love what it’s taught our kids, we love that they really have seen that hard work can turn into something when you stay focused.”

Visitors to the Pumpkin Ranch have also become fans of the attraction.

“I’m sad this is their last year, we’ve had a lot of fun here. I don’t want it to close, but it is,” said Amanda Punelli, from Stuart. She was celebrating her son’s birthday at the Pumpkin Ranch.

The business will operate until October 30. There will be an online auction of some of the items used at the farm, which can be found on the Pumpkin Ranch website.