Halloween in the UK was very different 30 years ago, instead of buying a cheap pumpkin in a supermarket, we find ourselves venturing to picturesque muddy fields to handpick and purchase pumpkins of various shapes, colours and sizes, all while drinking pumpkin lattes on hay bails and perusing locally grown produce in the farm shop.
Yet today, this is exactly the Halloween experience we seek. Often spending far too long on Google trying to find the perfect place too. Farms have undergone a transformation, evolving into immersive experience venues for every seasonal occasion, enticing visitors with their unique take on each calendar event.
But how did these produce farms go from being working farms to sell out immersive event venues?
Diversify or die
They didn’t do it all overnight, and many of them won’t have started with cafes or restaurants on site. Due to fluctuating crop yields, market prices and unpredictable weather, many farms have had to diversify their income streams to keep afloat. A lot of farms will have started with a muddy field filled with pumpkins and a person to man the till.
They have capitalised on a trend
In the last 10 years, there has been a significant shift in consumer behaviour, we are now seeking experiences over products. The pumpkin picking package is more important than the pumpkin itself. This trend has allowed farmers to get creative with their land and offer more than just produce.
Field-to-fork cafes bring year round business
As consumers became more conscious of the origin of their food, organic and homegrown fruit and veg is having a huge surge. Farms are cashing in on selling their own fruit and veg onsite in cafes, restaurants and in their farm shop. A well presented farm kitchen and restaurant can bring in year-round business.
They got creative
30 years ago could you imagine doing a night-time ”spooky ghost walk” at a farm, or attending a Santa visit in a farm café while eating a delicious root vegetable pie? Farms have expanded their offering to stay competitive, and some of their ideas are a bit wacky, yet they resonate with consumers and capture their enthusiasm.
They made themselves taggable
With the rise in TikTok videos and Instagram Reels, farms have really been able to get on people’s screens through user-generated content. A muddy field full of pumpkins in the perfect backdrop. Those farms that have established their brand and marketing strategies have reaped the rewards, as others discover them through the power of social media.
In summary, the rise of pumpkin picking experiences is a testament to the ability of farms to adapt to the rapidly evolving social landscape. Immersive events are being adopted in many different businesses in cities and towns. Rather than letting their businesses perish, farms are actively engaging with the contemporary consumer demand for joy and togetherness. By adding something as simple as a café, they have transformed themselves into sought-after destinations, ensuring they stay relevant in a dynamic market.
If you’re a farm wanting to add a kitchen and restaurant or café space, please get in touch. We can create a truly immersive space for your future customers to enjoy.