Autumn is coming, which means it’s almost time for colorful falling leaves, apple cider, and pumpkins. It also means it’s almost time for Leeds Farm to open to the public. Located on Route 36 near Ostrander, Leeds offers fun activities for the family for affordable prices (pricing info here). My family has made wonderful, fun memories there, but I never knew much about the farm itself, so I spoke with owner Christy Leeds to learn more.
Christy and Rob Leeds first started growing pumpkins on Rob’s farm when they married. In 1994, they decided to open to sell pumpkins, so they bought their property on Route 36 and started a business. Over time, people began asking if they could go in the barn and see the animals, so the Leeds started adding new activities. Twenty years later, they feature a variety of activities, from the exciting big zip to the combine slide—the only of its kind in the Midwest.
Leeds Farm offers a chance for kids to be active, Christy says. They purposefully choose active adventure activities to engage the kids. With activities as creative as the combine slide and tube time, I had to wonder how they thought of them! Christy told me they attend an annual conference, which consists mostly of people with farms much like Leeds. The community shares ideas which can be adapted to fit other farms.
On an average working day, employees come in early to get the farm ready. Doors open at ten, and then until five there are lots of people. There are chores, and the animals have to be cared for throughout the day, but a break is taken to feed the staff. At five they close, and then they reopen from 6:00 to 8:30 for a private party that has rented out the farm. There’s a bonfire for the party, and then the farm closes, the staff cleans up, and heads home. In the spring, the farm will host events as a venue (like weddings), and in October they open for school tours.
During school tours, they love to educate the kids about agriculture. One of the reasons the Leeds started the farm was their interest in helping people understand agriculture and desire to provide people with a closer view of it. Christy says she wishes they had more time for discussions about agriculture. However, people come to the farm to have fun with their families, so it’s difficult to strike a balance between educating them and having fun. One of the things they’ve tried to do for the kids is design activities that help them learn about agriculture. For example, a lot of kids have never seen and held field corn. At Leeds Farm, there are corn boxes—like sandboxes except filled with corn—for the kids to play in!
Christy says she loves the farm because it is what her family does together, even their extended family. She’s thankful that the guests realize a lot of work goes into transforming the farm into a public space, and she’s thankful for their respect. Leeds will be open to the public for six weekends, starting September 20 and ending October 26. October 2 they’ll be hosting Witch’s Night Out, a girl’s night out event. All of the ticket sales go to the American Cancer Society’s Making Strides against Breast Cancer. You can find more information about all their farm fun and special events on their website. If you’ve never been, take your family for an afternoon of fall fun and memories you won’t forget!