ON THE FARM

Pumpkin Pancake Recipe: Start a Tradition

pumpkin pancakes

My Grandpa Chuck makes the very, very best pancakes. They’re nothing fancy, just buttermilk, flour and eggs, but straight off the griddle they’re fluffy, hot and oh, so good – classic comfort food. So when we decided to have pancake breakfasts on the pumpkin patch, only Grandpa’s tried-and-true buttermilk pancake recipe would do – no mixes here! And, of course, we had to throw an ultra-moist, spiced pumpkin pancake onto the menu (since we are a pumpkin patch!). The result? Saturday mornings at Vala’s Pumpkin Patch this year felt just like a special visit to Grandpa’s house. It was the best way to start a day at the pumpkin patch.

kelsey and kyla pancake breakfast

It occurred to me today that we’re halfway through November, and even though pumpkin treats are delicious all year long, we’re coming up on the end of the official pumpkin-eating season. It’s time to take one more stab at those recipes for pumpkin bread, pumpkin bars and pumpkin pie, whether it’s for a family treat, a work party or your Thanksgiving table. Here’s one recipe I hope will keep the Vala’s Pumpkin Patch pancake tradition alive in your home.

Pumpkin Pancakes Recipe
Serves 2 hungry people

1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons light brown sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon ginger
1/8 teaspoon cloves
1 cup milk
1/2 cup canned pumpkin
1 large egg
2 tablespoons butter, melted
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Whisk together flour, brown sugar, baking powder, salt and spices. In a separate bowl whisk together the milk, pumpkin, egg, butter and vanilla. Add wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and stir until just mixed.

Heat a pan to medium-high or and an electric griddle to 375 degrees F and grease lightly. Ladle 1/4 cup measures of batter onto the hot pan or griddle cook for about 2 minutes per side.

Serve with butter and warm, real maple syrup.

Discount Days, Coming Up

happy halloween Canned Food for Pumpkins
Dates: Tuesday, October 29 to Thursday, October 31
Bring cans of food to Vala’s Pumpkin Patch next Tuesday through Thursday, and you will receive a $2.50 off of a pumpkin coupon with general admission (one per person). All canned food will go to the Gretna Neighbor’s Food Pantry.

Halloween Day Discount
Date: October 31
Admission to Vala’s Pumpkin Patch will be discounted to $7.50 on our last day, October 31. So make one last trip to Vala’s Pumpkin Patch on Halloween Day to stock up on kettle corn and caramel apples!

PinPoint Discount Days: Next Monday through Thursday
Dates: Monday, October 28 to Thursday, October 31
PinPoint Rewards members will get buy one, get one FREE admissions to Vala’s Pumpkin Patch on Monday, Oct. 28 through Thursday, Oct. 31. Just show your PinPoint card at the Vala’s admissions windows. For more information on how to join PinPoint (it’s free!), call PinPoint at 402-502-4401 or email info@pinpointrewards.com.
About PinPoin Rewards

The Perfect Pie Pumpkin: Winter Luxury

Winter Luxury PumpkinReady to experience the best pumpkin pie ever? Look for the distinctive lacy skin of the Winter Luxury Pumpkin. With sweet, smooth flesh, this heirloom variety pumpkin is considered one of the tastiest, and the best for pies. I plan on stocking up before our last day, October 31st — in a cool and dry place, they’ll keep until Thanksgiving and beyond (although mine will be used up in Thanksgiving pies!). Wondering how the heck to cook a real, fresh pumpkin? Here are some of our favorite resources to get you started.

The Pioneer Woman: Making Fresh Pumpkin Puree

Alton Brown’s Pumpkin Puree Recipe

King Arthur Flour: Making Pumpkin Puree

Vala’s Pinterest: Cooking With Pumpkin & Squash

Why You Should Book a Campfire Site

Vala's campfire sitesRoasting hot dogs and marshmallows around a campfire is a tradition that’s very special to my family. Growing up, my sisters, cousins and I would always take summer trips out to my Grandma Lois’ family farmland in western Nebraska, where we would swim in the Platte River and go fishing. When dinnertime rolled around, we would always build a little campfire and break out the hot dogs and marshmallows. They were simple, stress-free vacations, but we made some great memories, and they really meant a lot to us. That’s what I think of when the smell of crackling campfires drifts along in the crisp fall air here at Vala’s Pumpkin Patch. I hope your family can make similar, lasting memories.

More Reasons Why You Should Book a Campfire Site
Whether you have a family of 4 or a huge party to plan, a campfire site at Vala’s Pumpkin Patch is sure to be right for you. Friday and Saturday evenings are full, but there are lots of advantages to coming on a weekday, like discounted admission prices and half-priced campfires on Tuesdays and Wednesdays.
See The Campfire Map and Get Details

It’s Affordable
Our campfires start at $55 for small sites, plus Tuesday and Wednesday are half-priced campfire nights. Everyone attending will need to pay general admission to the pumpkin patch as well, so pick a weeknight, when prices are discounted.
See All Prices

Easy Online Booking
Booking your fall get-together or event is easier than ever with our online system – simply choose your campfires site, book it and pay, all online.
Book Your Campfires Site Now

Our New Catering Menu
Planning a fireside party is a breeze if you order Vala’s Pumpkin Patch catering. We have an all-new, expanded menu, so you can order hot cocoa, hot dogs and s’mores, or an all-out barbecue buffet.
Browse Our Catering Menu

S’more Inspiration
Key Lime Pie S’mores, Chocolate Chip Cookie S’mores and more ooey, gooey goodness. Check out some out-of-the-box s’mores ideas from around the Web on our Pinterest board.
How to Make Amazing S’mores

The Vala’s Pumpkin Patch Test Kitchen: Homemade Pies

apple piesFor the past year we’ve had something truly exciting in the works! If you’ve come out to visit us this year, you might have noticed a new big red barn that’s under construction by the Big Slide Ride and Corn Maze. Well, next year this will open as our Pie Barn! That’s right: a whole barn devoted to homemade, from-scratch pies where you’ll be able to grab a whole pie for the family, a thick wedge just for yourself, or you can pre-order pies for Thanksgiving and special events.

This fall season my main priority is all things pie, from slicing apples to throwing together the all-butter crust to testing out different crumb-toppings and fillings. When it comes to homemade pies— the kind with a fragrant buttery crust and a luscious, from-scratch filling— well, I just can’t get enough, and I’m excited to bring these pies to the public. You can find me this season whipping up pies for sale in the Big Barn Bakery, in the farm’s big exit barn. Though pie production isn’t in full swing this year, you can still grab our best-tested pies made from scratch, to enjoy at home—it’s our pie preview!

In the works for this season is Pumpkin Pie, Pumpkin Crumb-Topped Pie, Pumpkin Brownie Pie, Apple Pie, Salted Caramel Apple Pie, Apple Crumb-Topped Pie, Sour Cream-Walnut Apple Pie, and Chocolate Pecan Pie. What pies would you like to see in our Pie Barn next year?

Follow the progress on Facebook and Instagram #piebarn2014

 

4 Reasons to Visit Vala’s in September

pumpkinsWill you be one of the first people out at Vala’s on opening day, Friday, September 20th at 9:00am? We always think September is the best time to visit the pumpkin patch, because: 1) The weather is usually nice and mild, 2) You beat the crowds, 3) You can take full advantage of a season pass, and 4) For 2013, we’re discounting the weekend admissions price for the entire month (September 20th – 29). So make a trip out to Vala’s Pumpkin Patch early this year!

Buy Tickets Now>>
Buy a Season Pass>>
Plan Your Trip>>
See What’s New for the 2013 Season>>

Discount Days at Vala’s Pumpkin Patch, 2013

painted pumpkins

September Discount Days (For Everyone!)
Weekend admission prices in September are discounted to $12.88 per person.

Monday through Thursday Discount Days (For Everyone!)
Monday through Thursday admission prices to Vala’s are discounted to $10.54 per person.

Online Ticket Discount (For Everyone!)
Save $1.00 off October weekend admission prices by buying your tickets online.

 

Military Discount Days
Friday, September 20th through Monday, September 30th
With an Active Military ID, admission to Vala’s Pumpkin Patch for all of September (September 20th-30th) is $8.21 per person + tax, for the military member and their immediate family. Sorry, this does not apply to veterans or retired military members.
Find Details in Our Events Calendar>>

PinPoint Discount Day
Sunday, September 22nd
PinPoint Rewards members receive buy one, get one free admission to Vala’s Pumpkin Patch (limit one per PinPoint card).
Find Details in Our Events Calendar>>

Girl Scout Days
Sunday, September 22nd through Wednesday, September 25
Find Details in Our Events Calendar>>

Boy Scouts of America Popcorn Kick-Off
Friday, September 27
Find Details in Our Events Calendar>>

Homeschooler and Home Daycare Days
Friday, September 20th
Thursday, September 26th
Thursday, October 3rd
Thursday, October 10th
Find Details in Our Events Calendar>>

NEW at Vala’s Pumpkin Patch for 2013

paintballOpening day is less than two weeks away (the admissions gates open on September 20th, 9AM!), and we can’t wait to share everything we’ve been working on this year! Here’s a quick sneak peek at what’s new at Vala’s Pumpkin Patch for the 2013 season.

The Big Slide Ride
This is it! We’ve always wanted a huge, fun slide at Vala’s (come on, you can’t really go wrong with a slide, right?). So we’re super excited for you to try out our new 100-foot slide ride. Go ahead and swoosh down it as many times as you like, because best of all, this slide ride is included with general admission — that means there’s no extra charge for the newest and coolest attraction here at Vala’s.

Black Light Paintball
Don’t miss our Paintball Shootout’s great new black light makeover. New targets and new paint balls make this attraction extra special this year.

Our Corn Maze is Going Country
You’ll want to do-si-do your way around our corn maze, as we celebrate country music with banjos, guitars, fiddles and cool tunes. Yee-haw!

New Fun Foods
All year we’ve been to fairs and conventions, looking for hot new festival foods. We’re really excited about our new sausage on a stick, made especially for us by Omaha’s iconic Stoysich’s Meats. We’ve always been fans of Stoysich’s, so we’re happy to be working with them to make this special product.

We’ve also added a new s’mores outpost, down by the Sundown Marshmallow Roast — nothing is better on a fall evening than huddling around a campfire and roasting s’mores!

And, our famous, from-scratch Apple Cider Donuts will be fried up daily in the Harvest Barn. They’ll also be sold in the Coffee House (try a Pumpkin Latte with a warm Apple Cider Donut!) and you can pick up a dozen or so to-go as you leave through the Big Exit Barn.

We hope everyone will love our new Refillable Souvenir Cups, which include $0.99 refills for the whole season. Buy one for $6.99 or two or more for $4.99 each. You can even pre-purchase your cup online!

Our NEW Newsletter

picking pumpkins

I don’t know if anyone remembers, but we used to send e-newsletters many years ago. For one reason or another, we let the newsletters go and haven’t considered doing them again. Until, that is, this year. We figured, new upgraded web site, new blog, facebook “likes” up to 50K+ (amazing!)… We should revisit the idea of the newsletter. After all, there’s always tons of news and events to share from the farm.

So here’s our first one! We give some good tips and insider info. Let us know what you think and what you’d like to see in future editions. We look forward to connecting with Vala’s fans all year long with this fun new outlet.

See Our Newsletter

Subscribe to Our Newsletter

The Search for the Perfect Pumpkin Bread

DSC_06421-300x199The pumpkin is one of the most versatile fruits I can think of.  No, the pumpkin is not just for carving.  Smaller pumpkins such as the pie pumpkin have a sweet tender meat that can yield its flavor to almost any dish, sweet or savory.  The pumpkin has been a staple food item in the Americas for thousands of years.  We can even thank the pumpkin for helping the Pilgrims survive cold, harsh winters, as its hard outer shell allows it to be preserved for many months.  Today we most often see the pumpkin whipped into a sweet pie, and we certainly do not depend on it for our survival.
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