Sweetapple Farm Continues October Traditions with New Pandemic Safety Measures
What began as a dairy farm in 1940 is now the go-to spot to pick your own pumpkins in Vincent, Ohio operated by a local woman and her three children. Sweetapple Farm owner Mona Barrett, 73, is enthusiastic about this year’s corn maze on the farm’s property, which is Mother Goose-themed.
“My son cut it over four days,” said Barrett, adding that this is the twenty-first year the farm has had a different designed corn maze. Plus, those who visit the farm after dark are encouraged to bring flashlights to play games in the maze.
“People love it, and I love to watch it because you can see all these lights up in the air,” said Barrett, adding that social distancing is still important even when inside the maze. “We ask everybody to be careful walking.”
Barrett, a registered nurse, assured that social distancing measures as well as masks are required throughout the farm. Hand-washing stations and sanitizer stations are also available. In an additional measure, to control the number of visitors on-site at any time, those who come to the farm must purchase tickets online, reserving an entry time. Tickets are $5, with add-ons available, such as a $4 paint-your-own-pumpkin option or fifty cents to feed the goats at the farm.
“Our whole idea of doing this was to educate people about farming,” said Barrett of the decision more than two decades ago to make a large part of the farm open to the public. “We have information about farming and we take questions about what cows do and where milk comes from.”
We just feel very honored that everyone wants to come see us and learn about agriculture.
In a large cattle barn, there is a hay maze for smaller children made of hay bales. Barrett said there are also several full-size wooden cutouts of cows, where kids can pretend they are milking them, allowing for plenty of photo opportunities. Food, including Sloppy Joes, hot and cold cider, and pumpkin and caramel lattes, is available for purchase in the farm’s market, where visitors will find picnic tables for outdoor dining.
Barrett said her sons are farmers. While they have other jobs, she said they love farming and enjoy finding ways to invite people to come to the farm, which is so named for their first milk cows. She said those who once came as kids are now bringing their own children to visit.
“A lot of them are now bringing back their kids and they are so grateful we are open,” she said. “We just feel very honored that everyone wants to come see us and learn about agriculture.”
Open Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays in the fall, the season officially ends each year at the farm on Halloween. This year, although Halloween falls on a Saturday, the farm will remain closed so employees can enjoy the holiday with their loved ones. That means there are four more weekend days to enjoy the farm, on Friday, October 23, Saturday, October 24, Sunday, October 25, and Friday, October 30. The flashlight maze is not available on Sunday, as the farm will close at 6 p.m. rather than 9 p.m. like the other nights. Visit the farm’s Facebook page for the most up-to-date details.
Barrett, who will turn 74 next month, continues to enjoy seeing visitors come in from places like Zanesville and McConnellsville, especially to see the new corn maze design each year.
“People come back every year to do it,” she said. “So, many people know me.”