BARK RIVER, Mich. (WZMQ) – With Halloween just a week away, pumpkin season is coming to an end. Despite a slow start, Zawada Farms in Bark River had a successful fall.
“My grandparents started this farm in 1937,” farmer Mike Zawada said. “[It was a] dairy farm until 2014, and then my wife and I and our kids took over.”
The Zawadas only started growing pumpkins five years ago.
“My wife asked for a small portion of land to be worked up, and my dad decided to work up three acres,” said Zawada. “That was a huge start and it’s just grown every year since.”
Today, Zawada Farms grows dozens of varieties on five acres. Earlier this year, a dry start to the summer created some concern.
“When we planted on Memorial Day weekend, we didn’t see rain again for a month,” Zawada explained. “Nothing sprouted, nothing germinated, and that set us back two or three weeks.”
Thankfully, late July and August showers helped the pumpkin crop catch up before harvest time.
“As we cut them from the vine, it’s basically like taking the garden hose off the faucet,” said Zawada. “It just pours water out of that vine. They’re very thirsty, and that rain was really important for the start, and it’s grown very well.”
In early fall, most people visit Zawada Farms for decorative pumpkins and gourds.
“One of our most popular is the ‘flat stacker,'” Zawada said. “The Cinderella’s the orange, the white, and then the green. That kind of decorates the front porch.”
In Late October, carving pumpkins are in the highest demand.
“As it gets closer to Halloween, nobody carves until the weekend before because they only last for about a week,” said Zawada.
Zawada Farms currently has about 10% – 20% of its total harvest left to sell ahead of its final weekend of the season.
“The remains will be sold basically as deer feed or cattle feed,” Zawada said. “We do grass-fed beef. We don’t supplement them with corn, so this is using up the harvest.”
Mike Zawada says he and his family are already looking forward to welcoming the community back again next year.
“This is a family farm,” he said. “Our kids are involved. There’s animals present. We have goats and sheep, a miniature horse, pigs. You can buy pumpkins anywhere, but when you come here, you get the farm experience. That’s the experience we hope people take away from here.”
Zawada Farms is located at 5560 D.5 Lane. Visit the Zawada Farms Facebook page for updates on their final days and hours of operation this weekend.