By Kim Brooks, Express Editor
Looking for a great place to spend an afternoon this fall? Union Hollow Pumpkin Patch & Corn Maze outside Hopkinton offers a simple family-friendly atmosphere for all to enjoy.
“We wanted to have a simple place for families to come to and have simple memories,” said Andrea Hucker, who owns Union Hollow, along with husband Chris.
Union Hollow is located on Chris Hucker’s parents’ farm (Patty and DJ Hucker) between Hopkinton and Buck Creek. This is the fourth year the Huckers have opened their pumpkin patch, with the season running from late September through late October.
The idea for Union Hollow came about as Andrea was driving home from a visit to her dentist.
“Growing up, we always went to pumpkin patches in the fall,” Andrea reminisced. She said they would make day trips to Illinois, Wisconsin, all over.
“I called Chris when I was driving home and said, ‘I know what I want to do with my life,’” said Andrea.
So the Hucker family started growing pumpkins and gourds and planning for their future venture. The plan included a themed corn maze, a variety of pumpkins for sale and fun activities for young kids, including a corn hut. Last year, the Huckers added goats and sheep to their business.
“We hope to add more animals down the road,” said Andrea.
The theme for the three-acre corn maze changes each year as well. The first year they made a square design with no right turns, indicating you are never right. Year two, it was a traditional maze with multiple dead ends. Last year they made a circle maze with multiple circles intertwining. This year’s maze is a giant spider web.
Andrea said they always involve their four kids in the design because it allows for more ideas. Everything is graphed out and designed with precision.
“This project pulls in a lot of geometry,” Andrea joked.
The first couple of years were a bit of a struggle for the Huckers, as their corn maze caught fire after a neighboring farmer’s combine had a cornfield mishap.
“Thank goodness no one got hurt,” said Andrea. “But it put a damper on all of our spirits.”
They also had snow the first week in October one year, which cut their season short. This year, they had to cover their picked pumpkins with the recent frost.
In organizing their pumpkin patch, Andrea said they really just wanted a place for families to come for the afternoon and spend a couple of hours. The corn maze takes 25 to 30 minutes to find one’s way out.
“Word is getting out about our place and people always leave satisfied,” noted Andrea. The cost of the maze is just $4 for those 12 years and older, and $1 for kids ages 3 to 11.
Next year they are thinking of adding a lasso contest for kids. They would sit on top of hale bales and try to lasso the other bales around them.
“It’s simple country fun,” said Andrea.
There are also a wide variety of pumpkins to choose from. The Huckers plant multiple variations of pumpkins and gourds to satisfy everyone’s preferences. Depending on size, the prices range from $1 to $12.
“We want everything to be cost-effective for our customers,” said Andrea.
“We actually had a good crop this year,” she said, despite the drought. They plant in June and have pumpkins ready in time for the season. “We only had to irrigate once. We keep increasing the amount we plant and hope for enough.”
Union Hollow Pumpkin Patch & Corn Maze is open 4 to 6 p.m. on Thursdays and Fridays and noon to 6 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays. They are located at 3239 245th Ave./County Road X-31 outside of Hopkinton.
They have a couple of special opportunities for customers. On Saturday, Oct. 13, the Delaware County Pork Producers will be grilling out from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. to honor National Pork Month. On Saturday, Oct. 27, from 7:30 to 10 p.m., bring your own flash light out for a night of corn maze fun.
Visit their Facebook page to find out more about this season’s festivities.
PHOTOS: Top: Union Hollow owner Andrea Hucker, right, shows Sue Neuzil how to stack pumpkins for a neat fall display. You can then put your house number on each of the three pumpkins. Union Hollow plants a wide variety of pumpkins in all shapes and sizes. Middle: Natalie and Chad Neuzil pet the goats at Union Hollow Pumpkin Patch and Corn Maze. Owners Andrea and Chris Hucker added goats and sheep to their pumpkin patch last year and hope to add more friendly animals in the near future. Bottom: Wanting to spend an afternoon outdoors, these girls decided to try their luck in the corn maze at Union Hollow Pumpkin Patch outside of Hopkinton. The design of the maze this year was made to resemble a spider web. From left, Danica Fjelstul, Morgan Lee, Annie Fjelstul and Brooke Wooten. (Photos by Kim Brooks)