Farmers Brad and Lynn Hemmer grow pumpkins for a cause.
This time of year, is when their patch pays off.
The Hemmers, who live on Old 77 two miles south of Lone Tree, have hundreds of orange, white and green pumpkins, including some with the popular warts, for sale to raise money for the Breadbasket in Flandreau. They also sell gourds, Indian corn and corn shocks.
The couple, along with help from neighbors and relatives who bring over extra pumpkins and help with picking, have raised about $13,000 to feed hungry people, since starting the project in 2012.
“Everybody needs a meal if something is going bad,” Brad Hemmer said of the reason for giving proceeds to the food pantry. It’s also a way for the couple to give back.
“It’s kind of a community thing,” he said of the project. “It’s a lot of work.”
Last year, the acre or two where the pumpkins are grown – an old cattle lot -- was flooded so there wasn’t a crop. But this year, the patch is back. It’s busiest on the weekends, and people pay using the honor system. Many also take the opportunity to feed the donkeys while they shop.
The Hemmer patch opened Oct. 1 and pumpkins are going quickly, Brad Hemmer said. The lot will be open until Halloween or earlier if the pumpkins are gone. In the meantime, the Hemmers see families having fun.
“We enjoy it,” he said. “When you hear the people and the stories, it’s worth every minute of it.”