MCCLURE, Pa. — A Snyder County farm has found success this year with a primitive shop addition.
Steve Yakamook grows pumpkins and mums, and raises broiler chickens on the farm in McClure, along with cows and other crops.
Yakamook’s daughter, Natasha Aitkins, has been creating primitive décor for a few years. She had the idea to put a small shop at the farm and include the festive autumn farm products of pumpkins, mums and corn shucks.
Yakamook grows 7 acres of a variety of pumpkins.
“For 30 years we have grown pumpkins and taken them to the Buffalo Valley Auction,” Yakamook said.
“Natasha suggested starting this, and it’s been amazing,” the farmer said.
The family continued to take some pumpkins to auction. But sales soared at the farm.
Steve Yakamook and his daughter, Natasha Aitkins, in the canopy tent at the farm in McClure, Pa.
“At the looks of it, we are going to have to increase our acreage next year,” Yakamook said.
While they sold just a few more pumpkins than they normally do with only going to the auction, having the items sold right there on the property is extra special.
“I enjoy watching people come and pick them out and load them up. I can see them from the field. I thought this was such a good idea. Everything has worked out fine,” Yakamook said.
Aitkins had created a Facebook page which has drawn people to the back mountain farm.
“We’re remote here, far back in. People feel relaxed,” Yakamook said.
The shop addition to the farm has been great for additional income, but it also has been a lot of work for the whole family. Yakamook, his wife, his daughter Natasha, and Natasha’s husband, Shawn, and their three children, and another daughter, Eileen, are all very busy picking the pumpkins and mums, and selling them. They wash the pumpkins and prepare them to be placed for sale. They use a conveyor system to clean the pumpkins.
“People like a nice, clean product and that is important,” he said.
A Family Affair
The season begins in June, Aitkins said.
“In June, my dad and husband, Shawn, start the planting of all the pumpkins. Our son Aiden is also a huge part of our family business as well. In June, the men will start laying drip tape to irrigate throughout the summer. Also in June, my husband, our children — Raegen, Kendall, Aiden — and myself plant our mums, approximately 3,500.”
Aitkins said her husband gets the credit for the successful appearance of the mums. Her son helps, too.
“They spend so much time fertilizing each day, monitoring for any disease or insects, and if a storm comes through and blows them over, they have to go back and set them all up.”
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