This time of year pumpkins are everywhere. If you are sick of seeing the orange globes there is a place for you. Stoughton Farm located in Newark Valley, NY, has a Pumpkin Blaster and you can launch pumpkins out of the howitzer-like compressed-air cannon until your heart is content.
Stoughton Farm is a greenhouse, roadside farm market, and corn maze owned by Tim and Deb Stoughton. The farm has been in the family since 1913 and is on its 4th generation. Stoughton Farm grows and sells 10 greenhouses of annuals and perennials. Farm grown produce includes fresh greens, peas, beans sweet corn, summer squash, cucumbers, tomatoes, melons, peppers, potatoes, Indian corn, winter squash, pumpkins and more. Stoughton Farm also has two large high tunnels that allow Fall Raspberry u-picking, rain or shine. In the fall Mums, asters, apples, cider, kettle corn and fudge are a few of the other fall favorites. Tim Stoughton said, “We grow what we can. Take care of it the best we know.”
Even though they have been selling bedding plants and produce out of their green houses since 1989 Tim Stoughton knew they had to do more to keep the farm going. Tim Stoughton said, “We needed another spring so we turned to agritainment.” This is Stoughton Farm’s 10th year of agritainment. Agritainment has become a large part of the diversification that farmers turn to in order to survive. Stoughton Farm’s agritainment includes the ubiquitous pumpkins, a gigantic corn maze and more.
The 8-acre corn maze has a different design every year. This year Deb Stoughton picked a design in support of local animal shelters. From the air you would see the silhouette of a dog and a cat as well as, “Adopt don’t shop” cut out of the labyrinth of corn. Tim Stoughton said, “We plant corn so it is thicker.” He also explained that they start pulling corn by hand when it is growing around the middle/end of June.
A traditional old fashioned hay ride takes visitors for a ride along the bank of a creek, behind the corn maze, and winds its way back again. Morris Stoughton, Tim’s father, drives a Massey Harris 50 for the hay ride.
One of the first agritainment things Tim Stoughton added to the farm was the cow train. The cow cars are 55-gallon drums decorated with Holstein spots. The cow cars are filled with smiling little kids, hooked to a John Deere tractor, and are led on a shortened version of the hay ride before returning to the clicks and whirs of their parents’ digital cameras. Tim explained that he bought the first two cow train cars and then manufactured the rest in-house.
The howitzer like Pumpkin Blaster and the Corn Cannons stand like turret guns with various targets to shoot at with fall foliage as a back drop. Both use compressed air to launch either small pumpkins or corn cobs at various targets. Two compressors supply 80-120 psi. The small pumpkins can be launched over a football field away. Fifty-five gallon drums emblazoned with bull’s eyes clang like gongs when the corn cobs hit them.
Last year Stoughton Farm installed a “Jumping pillow.” The jumping pillow is an enormous, inflatable pillow that is set 4 feet into the ground. The pillow is big attraction out by the road and small children delight in jumping, hopping, and bouncing about on the bright colored bag of air. In 2014 Stoughton Farm installed ‘Friendly Fire.’ Inside an arena of plastic netting with protective barriers of round bales participants blast away at each other with foam balls.
With over 30 employees including youth and adults working the short pumpkin season Stoughton Farm has a big economic impact to a small town like Newark Valley. Tim Stoughton has big plans for next year but he errs on the conservative side, “I don’t want to spend a lot of money to be a little better I would rather spend a little and hope for a lot better.”
For more information go to: www.stoughtonfarm.com