Harvesting Happiness at Kohala Mountain Farm
Enjoy the Keiki Ghost Train, Blackout Hayride, Haunted Corn Maze and trick-or-treating at Kohala Mountain Educational Farm all this weekend.
The Kohala Mountain Educational Farm, located on Kahua Ranch on Hawai‘i Island’s Kohala Coast, is attracted an estimated 2,600 visitors over the weekend of Oct. 22 and 23 with 35,000 pounds of pumpkins sold.
In addition to the record visitor turnout, the farm hosted roughly 1,800 students from 38 schools this year.
During the week, the educational farm hosts private groups from schools, senior citizen groups and organizations from all over the island. Each private weekday tour includes a two to three hour farm tour, corn maze adventure, agricultural educational sessions, an educational physical activity and a small pumpkin to take home.
Attendance is up by about 40% from last year and the farm sold out of pumpkins the third Saturday of the season.
The Kohala Mountain Educational Farm started by Stacy Hasagawa and Benjie Kent in 2011. The farm’s mission is to excite young children to careers in agriculture.
Annually about 15,000 pumpkin seeds are planted on roughly six acres.
“Growing in the tropics is very difficult,” explained Farmer Benjie. “Two years ago, we lost most of the crop due to mice eating the seeds, cut worms killing the sprouting seeds and then a hurricane.”
Due to powdery mildew on the farm, this year’s pumpkins were grown off-site.
Farmer Benjie explained that from now and into the new year, KMEF is planting cover crops, which are expected to naturally take care of the issue.
In 2017, KMEF is “looking forward to a good crop of pumpkins grown at the farm, Mother Nature permitting.”
But the farm offers much more than just a pumpkin patch this season.
A popular attraction among KMEF guests is the pick-your-own-sunflowers activity. This year, approximately 5,000 sunflower seeds were planted, with about 80% making it to flower. The sunflowers became a part of the farm in 2013 and can be expected each year in October.
Farmer Benjie shared, “I am completely surprised this year at the lack of expressed disappointment from visitors in the fact that we ran out of pumpkins early; rather, the farm is about making memories and harvesting memories.”
This year’s attractions include a corn maze, hayrides, keiki cart train, pony and horse rides, a petting zoo, a toddler bounce castle, a children’s jump pad, face painting, Disney princesses, performances, a variety of food vendors and a panoramic view of the Kohala coastline.
On both Friday and Saturday evening, Oct. 28 and 29, at 6 p.m. the keiki cart train will transform to a keiki ghost train, the hayride to a blackout hayride and the corn maze to a haunted maze filled with fright. The bounce castle and jump pad, as well as, carnival games and activities, will continue all night under lights.
Each activity, food vendor and ride use individually priced tickets. Day and nighttime activities have different rates; the daytime and nighttime wristbands are two separate options.
For the blackout hayride and spooky maze, there is a special rate but the other activities remain the same price as the daytime prices. Participants can purchase a $25 wristband for unlimited enjoyment of the haunted maze and blackout hayride from 6 to 9 p.m. or single use hayride for $6 and $14 for the spooky corn maze.
On Saturday, Oct. 29, the farm is hosting an all-day trick-or-treat event from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Each activity station and the food vendors will be passing out candy to children in costumes.
On Saturday, the pony rides and a petting zoo will close at 5 p.m.
Snow White, Rapunzel and Ariel of Big Island Party Princesses will be socializing, taking pictures and talking story with visitors of the farm on Saturday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.
The last day of the farm tours is on Halloween, Monday, Oct. 31. Although the farm sold out of pumpkins for their weekend visitors, all attendees on weekday tours will receive a small pumpkin.
Future plans at KMEF include picking your own sweet corn, green beans and colored carrots in the spring and an Easter Egg Hunt on April 15, 2017.
“The smiles are a huge reward for all our hard work… ” said Farmer Benjie .
Kohala Mountain Educational Farm on Hawai‘i Island is located between mile markers 12 and 13 on Highway 250, also known as, Kohala Mountain Road, running between Waimea and Hawi.
Entrance and parking at the farm are free of charge and conveniently located.
Bring a non-perishable food item to donate to the North Kohala Food Basket to receive $2 off.
For more information about the farm and events, go online.