A trip to Peach Tree Farm is where memories are made enjoying country living and the quest for the perfect pumpkin.
October. The word alone may conjure up memories of a crisp autumn breeze dancing through color-dappled trees, bringing to mind hearty soups and stews, sweatshirts and sweaters and numerous outdoor activities such as hiking, tailgating and jumping into raked piles of leaves. October offers 31 days of golden sun and cooling nights, a transitioning from summer to fall before winter arrives with its oft-icy grip. This time of year affords an opportunity to enjoy temperate days and time for a traditional fall outing: picking out that perfect pumpkin.
Open every day in October, Peach Tree Farm sits among sloping hills and fields an approximate hour’s drive from Jefferson City. The farm, owned and operated by Bruce and Judy Arnett, offers visitors a multitude of pumpkin patch activities to enjoy.
For a $6 admission price, visitors can take a tractor-drawn hayride around the property; get giggly in the straw-bale maze; feed the sheep and goats; and view donkeys, duck, chickens and the bunnies at Bunnyville — and, of course, select a unique pumpkin to take home.
“Some people love huge pumpkins,” Judy says. “Others go for a specific shape. Some love bumpy pumpkins, and other people aim for a beautiful variety of colors and shapes for a display.”
Whatever your style, Peach Tree Farm can accommodate with more than 12 varieties available. Visitors pick out and cut their own pumpkins straight from the patch or can choose from a selection of precut pumpkins. Pumpkins are priced according to size.
Peach Tree Farm began roughly 20 years ago when Bruce Arnett decided to try his hand at truck farming, the practice of farming small fruits and vegetables and using a truck to haul and sell crops at market.
“He grew a lot of pumpkins,” Judy says. “He ended up with more than he could sell, so we placed them around our old cabin and put an ad in the paper to let people know that we had pumpkins for sale.”
And with that, a tradition was born.
According to Judy, customers who came by to purchase pumpkins spoke of what they enjoyed about patches they’d visited as children, of wanting to go on a hayride and other fall activities that complemented those ideas. The Arnetts gave considerable thought to the many suggestions and moved on an opportunity to share and promote the outdoors and farm life to others.
“People came to buy our pumpkins, and we listened to their comments,” Judy says. “Over the years, our little pumpkin patch has turned into a fall getaway for families and schoolchildren.”
Peach Tree Farm draws many school field trips from Jefferson City, Columbia and other districts within a 50-mile radius.
“Schoolchildren come and see up close how pumpkins grow and what various farm animals look like,” Judy says. “They learn a lot just seeing everything up close.”
In addition to providing fun for other families, the Arnetts’ six children have grown up working on the farm. During the summers, the family helps in the orchard with pruning, thinning, picking, sorting and selling peaches. For the pumpkins, they help plant the patches, care for the animals and assist with the customers.
“Schoolchildren come and see up close how pumpkins grow and what various farm animals look like. They learn a lot just seeing everything up close.” — Judy Arnett
“The best thing about having a pumpkin atch is the wonderful people we meet,” Judy says. “It is so rewarding to see families spending time together on the farm.”
Between the peaches in the summer (including more than 2,500 peach trees this year) and the pumpkins in the fall, Peach Tree Farm welcomes thousands of visitors a year.
“We love what we do,” Judy says. “We think our pumpkin patch is a special little place.”
And many mid-Missourians agree. “It is the simple, beautiful, colorful things in nature and the fun of being outdoors that make the best memories,” she adds.
Peach Tree Farm is located at 24863 Highway 98 in Boonville. Take Exit 111on Interstate 70, the first exit after the Missouri River Bridge. For more information, call 660-882-8009, or visit