Halloween wasn’t just a day for trick-or-treating for three classes of preschoolers who attend Elephant’s Fork Elementary School in Suffolk, VA, it was also a day to visit the pumpkin patch at Darden’s Farm.
Located in nearby Smithfield, VA, Darden’s Farm is a working farm of about 600 acres where peanuts, corn, cotton, soybeans, wheat, gourds and pumpkins are grown. Additionally, the farm is home to about 60 head of beef cattle, 9 goats, 1 donkey and 3 sheep. It is also the site of Darden’s Country Store which was established in 1952.
Every year, hundreds of children, accompanied by parents, grandparents and teachers, visit the farm to hear about “farm life” from Dee Dee Clements. They get to see how many of their everyday items are made from the products raised on the farm.
The preschoolers from Elephant’s Fork began their day by taking a tour of the farm while on a hayride. Each student had the opportunity to pick his/her very own pumpkin when their group stopped at the part of the pumpkin patch especially set aside for them – between two rows of sunflowers which had been planted as the outer limits to the field. The tour guide selected several of the sunflower plants as well as some cotton plants for the teachers to take back to their classrooms.
During the hayride, the tour guide stopped by the herd of beef cattle to allow the students a closer view. Later, he stopped by the pen where the goats, donkey and sheep lived. The students were amazed to learn the donkey protected the sheep and goats from wild dogs and coyotes that happened to get into the pen.
After eating lunch, students were given time to play in a corn box (think sand box with corn), traipse through the corn maze, ride barrel-shaped cows, play on sliding boards that came off huge rolls of hay, visit the petting zoo, or jump around in the cotton container.
Students and adults all seemed to have a great time. If you are interested in scheduling a school field trip, you can call the store at (757) 357-6791 to reserve your date. Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, church and youth groups are also welcome.