(ROCKWALL, TX — Oct. 21, 2017) For the Blase Family Farm, harvest season takes on a whole new meaning. Rather than storing up truckloads of fresh crops from their land, the Blases welcome truckloads of guests onto the property at 1232 East Fork Drive to pick out the perfect pumpkin and feast on fall fun.
It was back in 2011 that Jill and Chris Blase first decided to create a business that would provide outdoor education for students and memories for families and friends during pumpkin patch season in the fall and blueberry picking season in the spring.
“Our kids were 13 and 10 years old and the thought of starting a family business from the ground was exciting,” Jill said. “Our son Brandon and his friends helped Chris transform the property from thorny weeds to pretty pathways, mostly by hand, a very hot summer in 2011, before we opened that first year in October.”
Jill said that Chris and Brandon built a concession stand, fencing, animal pens, and picnic tables by hand. Their daughter Emily contributes pumpkin fudge and pumpkin popsicles for guests to snack on while they explore. What began as a small family business has become a beloved community tradition.
“It is heartwarming to watch families make memories here,” Jill said. “For some, the holiday season starts at a Pumpkin Patch. We love seeing the pictures of kids growing over the years in front of our “How Tall This Fall” sign that was painted for us by family friends. Some highlights for us have been when a soldier returned home to surprise his family one afternoon (there was not a dry eye in the place), wedding proposals, and when kids tell us that they want to be a farmer after visiting.”
Out of all the years they have put together their Pumpkin Patch, the Blases said 2012 was one of the most memorable. While Jill underwent treatment for breast cancer, the community rallied around their family and helped run the patch while she focused on recovery.
“Our friends did everything for the Pumpkin Patch, and they took turns taking me to my treatments at Baylor Sammons Cancer Center in downtown Dallas,” Jill said. “They ran everything, field trips, did all of the staffing for every day we were open. They provided our family meals, they prayed, I was given pumpkins by the sweetest Girl Scout troop that had come to the farm and they decorated the pumpkins they were given with their admission and brought them to me. We had a hair cutting party in anticipation of my hair falling out, and my friends gave me everything I could possibly need during my chemo treatments and hats and scarves. Students from Rockwall-Heath Fashion class made me hats to wear. On my birthday in October, all day long, decorated pumpkins appeared on my front porch.”
Jill said their family remains thankful to be involved in such a special community.
“It was an extraordinary outpouring of love towards our family,” she said.
This year, a trip to the Blase Family Farm costs $7, and includes a hayride, access to the petting zoo, and a complimentary hot dog on the weekends or a small pumpkin on Monday-Friday. Field trips cost $6 per student, but teachers get in for free. In addition to the hayride and feeding animals at the petting zoo, school groups get to enjoy a small hay maze, story time, and a scavenger hunt. Each student gets to pick out a small pumpkin to take home.
Visit www.blasefamilyfarm.com for more information.
By Julie Anne White, Blue Ribbon News. Photos courtesy of the Blase family.
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