If you’re in search of a great pumpkin, keep your eyes open for one of the many Konrad Farm Markets’ self-serve pumpkin patches on the side of the road in the Barrie area.
The Konrad family has been making pumpkins their business for close to 15 years. They have been growing them out of their Thornton farm, along with a variety of other vegetables.
“Corn is a big seller for us. We’re obviously becoming very popular for our pumpkins, but we do sell lots of sweet corn,” Joel Konrad tells BarrieToday.
Konrad, 24, is the entrepreneur behind the self-serve pumpkin stands that have been popping up throughout the region over the last few years.
With 11 stands currently being operated, they have become famous for their ‘honour system' in which customers leave money in the unattended metal money box and take the items they paid for. Thanks to security cameras and solid money boxes, cash hasn’t necessarily been stolen, but theft is an issue.
“I wouldn't say that there is a lot of theft, but every day we never have an exact amount of change and we should,” Konrad says. “There will always be smaller change in the box, which tells us that somewhere, someone or people have not paid what they’re supposed to.
"It is frustrating, but we have many honest customers and that is a great thing," he adds.
Konrad says having unsupervised locations and losing a little hard-earned money to dishonesty is still cheaper than having to pay someone to watch the sites all day.
Konrad recently graduated from Georgian College’s business management course and attends Lakehead University as he pursues a teaching career.
“I love everything about farming, that's who I am and who my family is,” Konrad says. “But I have a great interest in teaching and feel that is another way to go in my life.”
Konrad admits there was a bit of uncertainty heading into the 2020 fall season with COVID-19, but after speaking with other farmers who sell at local markets, he moved ahead with the pumpkin stands. And, he's doing 30 per cent better than last year.
“I think sales are up because it is outdoors and people may have been nervous to go to a grocery store and be around all the people. Here, they come get their pumpkin and head out,” Konrad says.
“During the week, it is usually a lot of single people grabbing pumpkins, likely on the way home from work and out of convenience," he adds. "But on the weekend, it seems like parents are bringing their kids out to pick the pumpkin they want.”
The first stand of the year went up on Bayfield Street on Sept. 5 with the rest following shortly after.
Konrad says “the stands will stay up until Halloween, as long as we have enough, but it looks like we may sell out before then.”
For more information on Konrad Farm Markets, check out their Facebook page here.
CURRENT PUMPKIN STAND LOCATIONS
- 580 Yonge St., Barrie
- 484 Essa Rd., Barrie, across from Roberta Place
- 339 Veterans Rd., Barrie
- Bayfield Street North, about one kilometre past Georgian Mall
- 4612 County Rd. 90, Springwater Township
- Highway 11 North at Line 2, Oro-Medonte Township
- Highway 89, just west of the Highway 400 exit toward Cookstown
- County Road 21, just outside of Thornton
- 3475 County Rd. 88, Bradford
- 3978 Tottenham Rd., New Tecumseth
- 6245 County Rd. 10, New Tecumseth