ARLINGTON – Maybe it’s a good thing Bob Lovins is a jack-o-lantern of all trades.
When he first opened his farm off Highway 9 between Arlington and Marysville in 2005, it was full of nursery items like trees, brush and flowers. But when the recession hit, he lost about $2 million in stock. The landscape architect decided to diversify.
So he decided to open a facility to do outdoor weddings.
Then, in 2013, he decided to diversify even more with Lovins Pumpkin Plantation. Some might have said he was out of his gourd. It has all the amenities of the larger pumpkin patches, but in a smaller area. Lovins said that can be really beneficial for families with small kids. They can still have the outdoor experience, but in less time and less mess.
For example, Lovins does have a maze. But there is gravel all the way through so it doesn’t get muddy like at some of the other places. And, best of all, it’s free.
Instead of customers going to pick their own pumpkins, Lovins picks them and puts them up near the checkout shed. “Kids don’t last that long,” he said.
People can easily see the different sizes and pick out the one they want. They can even haul it back with a wagon.
Lovins said people can pick their own out back, but “only one in one-hundred want to do that,” he said.
This plantation has other free stuff, too. Families can check out the donkeys, miniature horses, pigs, goats and calves. Kids can have fun in a playground that includes and tractor and tires to climb on.
“It’s tested safe by a lot of grandkids,” he said.
Aside from the pumpkins, the only other cost is a cart or wagon ride, which is $3 each or two for $5.
Since it’s so close to Halloween, pumpkins are the big sellers, but he also has apple trees and sunflowers on the property.
His wife, Heidi, has even set up a scene so people can take Christmas pictures there, again for free.
The plantation is only open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday through Sunday. Lovins said he is fairly new to farming, and that he has gained a lot of respect for the soil on Mother Earth.
“Farming’s not for sissies,” Lovins said.