Small Business Startup: Elmer Creek Farm

Kathy Elmer, owner of Elmer Creek Farm, stands for a photo near the pumpkin patch at her property in Carthage. Kara Dry/NNY Business

Elmer Creek Farm, located just outside Copenhagen, appears upon first glance to just be a field full of green leaves with a large barn out front. An old truck sits near the entrance to the barn, surrounded by various fall-themed decorations; short rows of corn dot the edges of the field, and a forest of maples acts as a backdrop to the view. Looking beneath the leaves in the field, however, offers an exciting glimpse at the many pumpkins and gourds which are maturing rapidly with the onset of the cooler autumn months.

Owner Kathy Elmer and her Australian Shepard, Koda, manage all aspects of the farm, from spring planting, to irrigation during the summer and harvest throughout fall. Mrs. Elmer opened the business in 2019 on eight acres of tilled field filled with many varieties of pumpkins, squash and gourds.

“We’ve got a lot of different ones,” she said. “We have yellows, we have just regular, typical carving jack-o-lanterns. We have acorn squashes, whites, black, pink, blue, red.”

Established on the Elmer family homestead, Mrs. Elmer said she decided on a pumpkin farm because of her love for the season and the holiday.

“I love Halloween, I love pumpkins, and I love families, I love kids,” she said.

Mrs. Elmer works full-time as a social worker for a school in the Adirondacks, in Star Lake, and she says that, in her job, she has seen “a lot of pain and suffering.”

“I wanted to do something fun and uplifting,” she said. “I don’t think I’ve ever seen a kid go through here who’s not laughing and having fun and giggling, and you’re so excited at the amount of energy that comes out of their little bodies, you know?”

She also wanted to bring something fun to the area she grew up in, and moved back to after being away for over 20 years.

“I see generations of families, it’s kind of cool. I see soldiers and soldiers’ families; I see local people I grew up with here. So, I’ve reconnected with people I haven’t seen in 30 years,” she said.

Mrs. Elmer sells primarily to local families and soldiers on Fort Drum, and has set up the space surrounding the field to reflect that. On the edges of the field, she has set up areas where families can take pictures and, she said, “I have photographers come that do little mini sessions for families,” said Mrs. Elmer, “and it’s just cute.”

Elmer Creek Farm offers a unique place in the north country for residents to buy their autumnal decorations and, as she stated, she would like to grow the farm so she can offer food products and a place for local artists and vendors to “show their Northern New York stuff.”

As the farm grows and becomes more well known, Mrs. Elmer hopes to eventually expand her services to include selling food made from the field’s produce, among other things.

“We have a kitchen that we’re putting in back there; we want to do food products and value-added food products from pumpkins or squash,” she said.

She would also like to host events at the farm once it is more established, and is considering insulating the barn so that snowmobilers can make it a stop during the winter on their ways to other venues. There is an upstairs loft area with double doors that currently open to nothing, but Mrs. Elmer hopes to add a balcony area in the near future so she can advertise the farm as a venue.

“I’d like to do a micro-brewery, a pumpkin micro-brewery with pumpkin beer,” she said.

Elmer Creek Farm is open on weekends from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. through October. The price of pumpkins and gourds ranges from $1 to $12, although larger-than-normal pumpkins may cost more. To contact Mrs. Elmer or see pictures of the farm and products, visit www.facebook.com/elmercreekfarm.

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Johnson Newspapers 7.1

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