Get decked out for fall at Cherry Brook Farm.
written by DAWN NOLAN
photographed by NIKKI BOWMAN MILLS
When Randall “Randy” Junkins purchased a 22-acre tract of land adjoining his homestead in the small community of Mount Storm, it was “nothing more than an overgrown field.” But he saw the property’s potential, and, as he brainstormed ways to use the land to pay for its purchase, he was reminded of an earlier experience selling surplus pumpkins from his personal patch to folks in nearby Petersburg. “Much to my surprise, they sold very quickly, and folks seemed intrigued that they had been locally grown by me,” he recalls.
That thought, paired with Junkins’ increasing desire to share the land he loved—now known as Cherry Brook Farm—with others, resulted in a one-acre pick-your-own pumpkin patch that opened to the public in 2016. “It caught on quickly, and I felt like year one was a success,” he says. A year later, he purchased 250 additional acres once owned by his ancestors to support his growing dream.
Now, Cherry Brook Farm has over 12 acres of fall produce, a 2,700-square-foot retail barn, and an elevated patio with a picnic area. When it opens for the season—around Labor Day weekend, depending on the weather—visitors can pick around 40 varieties of pumpkins that range in color, size, and appearance as well as single-color, tri-color, deck planter, and whiskey barrel mums; sunflowers; and three varieties of sweet corn. Admission to the farm is free. “We pride ourselves on the laid-back atmosphere and simplicity here,” Junkins says.
From individually potting and field-planting thousands of pumpkins to irrigating mums to cultivating several rounds of sweet corn, a significant amount of preparation happens before Cherry Brook opens to the public each year. But for Junkins, all of the hard work is worthwhile as he sees families making lifelong memories. “We are so truly thankful for the acceptance and support from not only our community, but our state and surrounding areas,” he says. “We are in awe each year of the tremendous support we are afforded, and we always look forward to building upon and establishing new friendships with our patrons moving forward. We strive to offer the best products possible at an affordable price, and it means so much to us when people select us over the other options.”
Cherry Brook has also allowed Junkins to grow as a person and cherish time with his own family. “Much like the folks that come here to make memories with their families in the fall, my family and I have made so many memories along the way to get to where we are,” he says. “We have truly been blessed here at Cherry Brook Farm.”