Carolyn’s Country Cousins
In 1991, the Raasch’s opened their farm to the public with the first pumpkin patch. The farm includes approximately 60 acres planted in pumpkins, corn, and soybeans, plus another 20 acres set aside for pumpkin entertainment and farm fun. For many years, the Raasch family grew fresh vegetables and sold them at area farmers’ markets. As they talked with their customers, they learned that many families no longer had ties to rural America—some were three or four generations removed from their relatives that actually lived on a farm.
There seemed to be a longing to reconnect with the farm, or to at least visit a farm and see what farm life might be like.
Working with a class of college students from Baker University, and with the help of Missouri’s Ag in the Classroom program, they developed curriculum materials to assist teachers in teaching their students about agriculture. Today’s curriculum now offers several different tours, and all the teacher resources are provided on CD.
In 2009, Carolyn’s Country Cousins was recognized by the North America Farmers’ Direct Marketing Association (NAFDMA) with two awards, one for the Excellence in School Tours Program, and the other for the Excellence in Promotional Innovation, for the Teacher’s Resources CD. The awards were voted on by their peers throughout the U.S. and Canada.
In January, 2010, the International Festivals and Events Association (IFEA) announced that we had won two awards in their prestigious Pinnacle Awards competition. We were presented a Bronze Award was for the best event photograph, and the Gold Award for Best Sponsor, which was awarded to Hy Vee Grocery Stores and Carolyn’s Country Cousins Pumpkin Patch for our partnership in creating an educational color book.
Our Colorbook has also received meritorious awards, and is printed through the generosity of HyVee Grocery stores with the help of Pepsi-Americas and others. Acknowledging the diversity of Greater Kansas City, this book is available in English, Spanish, German, French, Italian, Russian, Chinese and Japanese.
In addition to NAFDMA, the Raasch’s are actively involved in the Missouri Agritourism Council and in AgriMissouri-a program of the Missouri Department of Agriculture that provides marketing assistance to farms and agribusinesses within the state. In 2008, Buddy and Carolyn were named the Winner of the Governor’s Conference on Tourism Pathfinder Award.