I Am Local 6: The Pumpkin Barn educates through agritourism
Agritourism is the family fun that comes when agriculture and tourism come together. It’s a way for farmers to educate and involve visitors about their everyday lives.
The Pumpkin Barn, LLC in Gratio, Tennessee, has been in business for more then two decades. Like many family-owned start-ups, they may start small but hope to make a big impact.
Calves, ponies and pumpkins are considered normal on a farm. The farmer sits on the front porch, but not with a dog by his side. Alan Shirley has Maggie May, a spider monkey.
"We normally have her out in the afternoon from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. because she gets aggravated. She’s alright. She’s two years old," said Shirley.
For 26 years, The Pumpkin Barn has been the one-stop shop for fall decor and furry friends for kids of all ages. If you see 10-year-old Jay Lebo, he is more than likely helping out instead of hopping around.
"If it’s lifting pumpkins, lifting hay, cleaning up, feeding, I do just about anything," said Lebo.
The Pumpkin Barn started as an FFA/4-H project out of two trailers in the front yard. Over the years, it’s grown into a 10-acre agriculture tourism attraction.
"We’ve got kids that still think chocolate milk comes out of a chocolate cow," said Shirley.
No chocolate cows at The Pumpkin Barn, but you can learn about Liberty, the camel who is just as sweet.