Penner Pumpkins and the ScareCrow Forest is located on a ten acre piece of farmland just outside of Steinbach, Mb. The barn standing on the yard was built in the 1940’s as a dairy barn, later on it became a hog barn, then switching to a trailer shop, and finally becoming a banquet area.
The house was built by our father, grandpa, and great grandpa, Ben Penner. There is a lot of history for the Penner family on this property. The Penners started selling pumpkins in 1990 just as a hobby for their young children.
By 2009 the family had been dreaming of starting up a small agri-tourism business; a farm that would be family friendly, and give people a chance to experience a bit of the farm life. This is where the ScareCrow Forest was born. The ideas came together, and the Penner family has been working to add new events and attractions every year!
Penner Pumpkins started as a hobby for the 3 Penner girls in 1990. Every spring they would plant a row or two of pumpkins in the garden and in fall they harvested the pumpkins. They would sell the pumpkins at Highway 12 every Saturday in October.
In 2005 TJ, John, and Shirley started sellling pumpkins at a Farmers' Market. This is when the hobby became a business and Penner Pumpkins was born.
In 2007 Shirley and Lorissa started selling veggies and pumpkins at Farmers' Markets. Lorissa started selling herb pots at the markets to extend the season.
In 2009 the Scarecrow Forest opened and a Farm Store was added to the farm. Every year something new is added to the Farm Store. Around this time Lorissa started making preserves and now makes around 80 different kinds of jams, jellies, pickles, and relishes.
The Penner's rent land just north of Steinbach and have a 3 acre pumpkin patch and 1 acre market garden. The season starts in January when the seeds need to be ordered. In Febuary the onions are planted in the house and in March we move into the greenhouse. In March is when the majority of things are seeded and May 1st is when the pumpkins are started.
In May the garden is tilled and when the weather is nice the garden can be planted. The pumpkins patch is always planted the first weekend in June. If the weather cooperates the veggies start producing in July and continue til the first frost, usually in September.
All through the summer Lorissa is busy tilling, weeding, watering, and picking. From June to September Lorissa cans over 2000 jars and in September the pumpkins are ready to be picked and sold. In November the Scarecrow Forest and gardens are cleaned up. In December everyone gets a break and in January everything starts again.
In 2017 my dad sold the farm. I want to keep Penner Pumpkins Farm store open so it has become a mobile store. I rent 4.5 acres of land near Steinbach so I can continue growing pumpkins and vegetables. I sell my vegetables at the Downtown Winnipeg Farmers' Market and I hope to continue selling at the Steinbach Community Market at the old Safeway.
In the near future I want to buy land so I can get back into raising chickens, set up a greenhouse, set up amazing pumpkin displays, and have a commercial kitchen so I can keep canning.