A Family Farm for More Than 20 Years
The Wickhams have been farming for many generations, but it was Bill
Wickham who initiated pumpkin farming into the family. At the age of 8,
he started a pumpkin operation at his family's farm in Flint, New York,
and the family has been growing and selling pumpkins ever since.
The Wickham family began growing and selling pumpkins on Route 250 in Penfield in 1986. Three generations of
the Wickham family contribute to the successful operation of Wickham Farms. Bill and Debbie Wickham (above, right),
both graduates of Cornell University, own the farm. Debbie, who has
spent her career with Xerox, helps out during busy seasons in the
spring and fall. Bill and Debbie's three children, Kevin, Paige, and Dale, spend their
summer vacations working at the farm. Even the family's golden
retriever, Bailey, pitches in, playing greeter to guests and chasing
the geese out of the fields. Don Wickham, Bill's father, pitches
in, as do nieces and nephews during busy seasons.
When the Wickham family began farming in Penfield in 1986, Wickham Farms
consisted of a field of pumpkins and a red cart that had a cash box for
payment (above, left). On weekends, the family would serve customers in
the field, but on weekdays the honor system was used, and customers
would leave their payment in the cash box on the cart. Depending on the
year, red carts also could be seen in U-pick pumpkin fields in Webster,
Fairport, Victor and Stanley.
Since then, Wickham Farms has concentrated its efforts on its current
site on Route 250 in Penfield. Here are some of the milestones that
made Wickham Farms the popular place it is today:
- 2002: Wickham Farms grew its first corn maze (above,
center). It also started offering field trips to school children. The
field trips were held in a tent, and the children sat on straw bales.
Some teachers have brought their classes every year since then! Bill
Wickham says that giving school children a taste of farm life has been
one of the most rewarding experiences of running Wickham Farms.
- 2004: The red barn was built (above, right), and was
used for field trips, storage, and an office. Family-friendly hayrides
around the pumpkin patch were started.
- 2005: The red barn became an ice cream shop and gift
shop. An 18-hole miniature golf course was added.
- 2007: A lunch menu was added in the barn. A U-Pick
cutting garden, consisting mostly of zinnias and sunflowers, was
started. The "enchanted orchard," where apples are grown on
wooden trees, magically appeared.
- 2008: Chickens came to visit in the fall. They were
so well liked by visitors and farmers, it was decided that they'd
become a permanent attraction.
- 2009: Wickham Farms started a Facebook page. The farm
added a greenhouse for its expanding plant business, and a jumping pillow for its expanding fun
business! The jumping pillow was suggested by Kevin Wickham, who
researched the concept for a business analysis class at Cornell
University. The installation shown below, with Don Wickham driving the
tractor in the middle and the Wickham family giving it a try on the right!
- 2010: Wickham Farms added its "Cornfield of Dreams" batting cages. We welcomed
more animals, both real and imaginary. The imaginary cow lets children
experience what it's like to milk a cow. Also, Paige Wickham headed to
Cornell to study agricultural economics - who knows what ideas she'll bring
to the family business!