It’s not often a decades-long career in cosmetology leads to owning a pumpkin farm. But for Jamie Hough, that’s just what happened, and she couldn’t be happier.
Music from the 1950’s and ‘60s sets the tone for Mad Pumpkins at H. Estates Farm, a quaint and cozy pumpkin patch that allows families to step into the yesteryear with hayrides, unique fall decorations, a playground, photo opportunities galore, and of course, pumpkins.
The farm, located on Lower Valley Pike along the Mad River, offers the perfect scenery for the nostalgic pumpkin patch.
“We wanted to focus on nostalgia and trying to keep the vintage feel,” says the farm’s owner, Hough, who is an artist at heart. She has added many nuances to the patch in each of the three years it’s been open, and she’s already working on plans for a new attraction for the 2021 pumpkin season.
Owning a pumpkin patch was not a dream of Hough’s – it just kind of happened one day for her and her husband, Aaron. In fact, she only knew one vocation in her life before opening the pumpkin patch, which was the beauty industry.
“Hair is all I’ve ever known, and after graduating from cosmetology school in 1996, I worked behind the chair for over 20 years,” Hough says.
She worked for Carousel Beauty School located in both Springfield and Kettering, where she was an instructor and the campus manager of the Kettering location.
“When they closed in 2016, I knew it was time for a new adventure,” Hough says. “I told my husband I wanted to venture into something new, but wasn’t quite sure what. I wanted to do something creative, and I tried new things for about 20 months.”
The couple has lived on the farm since 2010, and in the spring of 2018, Hough’s husband, who owns his own consulting firm called Reel Improvement, told her that he’d always wanted to be a pumpkin farmer on the side. From there, the creative juices started flowing for Hough. They planted their first pumpkin fields in June 2018, and the rest is history.
“We wanted to be a traditional pumpkin patch,” she says. “We wanted to hold onto the quaint and cozy feel of a country setting while offering a great family experience to everyone.
“My goal is to do something fun and be creative doing it. I feel like having a business that focuses on families and couples enjoying themselves and making memories is important and making their experience the best possible – that is my goal.”
Hough started the business with a strong Facebook presence.
“The community response has been overwhelming,” she says. “You can only do so much posting of daily events, but when people start sharing their photos and their experiences, it really takes off. The community just takes over.
“I love it when they share their experiences. I can truly see where the growth is coming from. It’s nice seeing familiar families come back each year and the amount of people following us is outstanding. Aaron and I are so thankful for all the support.”
Adding to the nostalgia on the farm is a vintage hay wagon her husband rebuilt for hayrides. The farm also boasts photo opportunities, including the Flight of Fall wings painted by Hough herself, and sells one-of-kind, hand-painted birdfeeders, totes, other crafts, and woodwork.
The hayrides feature fun characters for children to enjoy and view of a lake along the path. This year, they are by appointment only for groups of 10 or less because of COVID-19 for a flat rate of $25.
And, oh, the pumpkins.
“We probably harvested between 3,000 and 3,500 this year,” Hough says. “There are carving pumpkins of traditional orange, medium white pumpkins, pie pumpkins, medium-sized pumpkins, and mini pumpkins while they last throughout the season.
And, she explained that everything grown on the farm is organic.
“We are a plasticulture farm – we don’t use pesticides, herbicides, or weed killer, especially with the river on one side and lake on the other side,” Hough says. “It’s much safer that way.”
Hough also uses the beauty of the farm as the backdrop for her recently-developed photography business, H. Estates Photography, to keep her busy throughout all the seasons.
“I love photography,” she says. “The farm is a beautiful place with natural scenery for photos. The two businesses are a natural flow and a creative avenue.”