Gritt’s Farm is not what it used to be. The farm, in the hills behind Buffalo, has always been a working farm. Twenty years ago and before, the work was tobacco — burley tobacco, a very labor intensive crop.
In the early 2000’s, tobacco growing at the farm and in Putnam County abruptly ended with the tobacco buyout and end of federal subsidies.
Cattle, greenhouses, pumpkins and mums replaced tobacco. In 2006, the farm opened up to visitors when it diversified to offer a pick-your-own pumpkin experience. It was the first of many fun features that would follow.
The Gritt’s added the corn maze in 2012. Today, visitors can enjoy a variety of mazes, activities and competitions. In addition to pumpkin picking, there are wagon rides, apple cannon shooting, apple slingshots, giant jumping pads and slide down the mountain. There is rubber duck racing in which youngsters and oldsters can pump their flock to the finish line. There are pigmy goats to pet and pumpkin treats to eat.
Manager Brad Gritt said that 60 employees (many of which are high schoolers) are needed to make everything happen during the Fun Farm season (Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays from mid September to the end of October). The farm employees 20 to 25 for other farm and greenhouse operations.
Most visitors to the Fun Farm live within a two-hour drive. Some visitors, however, are from distant locales. Gritt reports that residents from 46 states have taken in the farm fun. Many visitors are returnees seeking to relive their earlier experiences and to enjoy new offerings.
Gritt is looking to expand future visiting seasons into December by offering a cut-your-own Christmas tree experience. Trees planted this year will be ready to harvest in seven years.
In search of new ideas, Gritt has traveled to fun farms in distant states. He has trips planned to Pennsylvania and New York in the coming months.
Tickets to Gritt’s Fun Farm are only available online. Ticket sales are regulated such that there is a surplus of fun for fun seekers. Restricted sales also ensure that access roads to the farm are not over burdened.
Tickets are available at http://www.grittsfarm.com