We’re Talking Fall Fest on WSBT!

Karen Johnson from Hensler’s chatted with Ted Smucker on WSBT today and shared information about all the great activities we’ve planned for Fall Fest. If you missed it, check out the video on wsbt.com!

Like Karen mentioned, cruise in to Hensler’s this Sunday, October 3rd for our classic car show. We’ve got door prizes, goody bags, and a pretty nifty prize to hand out for winning entries! Click here to learn more about the Cruise In.

And don’t forget about all of our unique fall decorations. They’re handmade right here at Hensler’s so you can add a unique and personal touch to your holiday decorating.


Participants and Winners from the 2010 Giant Pumpkin Contest

Winners List

For more information, read our full write-up about the contest

1st Place
Jeff Zoellner, 1198 lb.pumpkin
Clayton, OH

2nd Place
Sam Durst, 1076 lb. pumpkin
Sidney, OH

3rd Place
Phyllis Howard, 1001.5 lb. pumpkin
Grovertown, IN

4th Place
John Barenie, 962 lb. pumpkin
Griffith, IN

5th Place
Roger Howard, 942 lb. pumpkin
Grovertown, IN

6th Place
Alan Kopp, 860.5 lb. pumpkin
Genoa City, WI

7th Place
Tom Gary, 745.5 lb. pumpkin
Indianapolis, IN

8th Place
Mervin Barenie, 725.5 lb. pumpkin
Griffith, IN

9th Place
Tom Beach, 703.5 lb. pumpkin
Fort Wayne, IN

10th Place
Judy Barenie, 671.5 lb. pumpkin
Griffith, IN

11th Place
Grand Mullins, 601.5 lb. pumpkin
Fort Wayne, IN

12th Place
Christopher Virsing, 583 lb. pumpkin
Valparaiso, IN

13th Place
Mark Goodman, 573 lb. pumpkin
Marion, IN

14th Place
Max Miller, 542 lb. pumpkin
Dunkirk, IN

15th Place
Dave Beachy, 511.5 lb. pumpkin
Woodburn, IN

16th Place
Kelly Klinker, 341.5 lb. pumpkin
Woodburn, IN

Other Winners

1st – Tom Beachy, Fort Wayne, IN 87″ long gourd
1st – Tom Beachy, Fort Wayne, IN 2.2 lb. tomato
1st – Steve Haberman, Warsaw, IN 12 1/2″ sunflower head
1st – Jeff Zoellner, Clayton, OH 82 1/2 lb. pumpkin
1st – Roger Howard, Grovertown, IN 116 1/2 lb. watermelon


2010 Giant Pumpkin Contest

Oooh! Aah! Aaaah-some. Hensler’s third annual Giant Pumpkin contest wasn’t a disappointment. Entries came from Wisconsin, Indiana, and Ohio. The winner was Jeff Zoellner from Clayton, OH who brought the winning 1,198 lb. pumpkin. Second place winner was Sam Durst of Sidney, OH with a pumpkin weighing 1,076 lbs.

Local grower Phyllis Howard of Grovertown, IN joined the 1,000 lb. club by bringing a pumpkin weighing 1,001.5 lbs. Fourth place was John Barenie of Griffith, IN with his 962 lb. pumpkin. In sixth place, Alan Kopp of Genoa City, WI brought a 860.5 lb. pumpkin.

Click here to see the full list of winners and participants.

Photos from the 2010 Giant Pumpkin Weigh-off

In addition, this year featured other large vegetables. Tom Beachy, Fort Wayne, IN brought an 87 inch long gourd which earned a first place and also a 2.2 lb. tomato which placed first. Steve Haberman of Warsaw had a first place award with a 12 1/2 inch sunflower head.

Other awards included a 1st place for Jeff Zoellner, of Clayton, OH for his 82.5 lb. field pumpkin. Also winning a 1st place was Roger Howard, Grovertown, IN with a watermelon weighing 116.5 lbs.

The fall weather at Hensler’s Fall Fest was agreeable and attendance was up for this third annual weigh-in. Fall Fest continues through October with horse-pulled wagon rides to the pumpkin patch, fire pit rentals, and fall decorations including pumpkins, gourds, mums, asters, straw and corn stalks.


Fall Decorating at Our Farm for Fall Fest

We like to amp up the ambiance of our farm during Fall Fest with a little fall decorating. This year we’ve relied on the talent we have here at Hensler’s to add some new creative displays. We like to combine the rustic farm atmosphere and hand-crafted items to create something unique. Check out our covered wagons, rustic pumpkin displays and little witch’s fun house.


8 Pumpkin Carving Safety Tips

Pumpkin Carving Safety TipsNow that our pumpkin patch is filled with gorgeous gourds, we naturally start thinking about jack o’lanterns. Pumpkin carving, however, is an activity that needs to be approached with caution, especially if you’re planning to include the kids.

Remember, your goal is to carve the pumpkin and not yourself! Prevent a sprint for the first aid kit or the emergency room by following these tips.

1. The Workstation
Set up your carving workstation on a well-lit dry surface. You don’t want those pumpkins to slip and slide! Use a tray or jar to store your tools when not in use. If the kids are going to help, make sure they can easily reach the work surface.

2. Keep the Kids Safe
If children are involved, they should be supervised at all times. Ask the younger kids to help by decorating with glue sticks and glitter, magic markers and other child-friendly materials. Older children could help punch out the design on the pumpkin, and if they’re permitted to use a knife, encourage them to work slowly and monitor them at all times.

3. Knife Selection
If you’re reaching for a chef’s knife, please put it down now! A small knife with a short serrated blade is your best bet for pumpkin carving. The knife that’s included in a pumpkin carving kit you find at the store is a great example of what you should use. That type of knife usually has a serrated blade that’s not as sharp as the kitchen knives you have at home. Sharper isn’t better when it comes to pumpkin carving, and the serrated edge will make your work even easier.

4. Point the Blade Away
Point the blade edge away from you as much as possible while carving out the design. If your hand slips or you loose control of the blade, you’re less likely to get cut.

5. Saw Instead of Slice
Gently saw back and forth through the pumpkin to complete your design. Take your time and avoid the urge to make big slices so that you don’t injure yourself.

6. Let the Force Be With You
Wielding your knife with a gentle force is best. Applying a lot of power to your knife can more easily result in injury if the blade slips our you slice through your pumpkin.

7. Watch Where You Put Your Hands
Be mindful of where you put your free hand while carving. If you use one of your hands to steady the pumpkin, be cautious that you don’t poke or slice all the way through the pumpkin to the other side.

8. Battery Power is Best
Forget about candles. They create a fire hazard and it’s not worth the risk. Battery powered lights are best when it’s time to illuminate your pumpkin. Wrap a short string of lights around a canning jar or small vase and place it inside the pumpkin for maximum illumination.


Pumpkin Carving Inspiration

Sharpen the knives, make some sketches and and get ready to put a few glowing gourds out on the front porch. That’s right, Halloween is on its way and that can only mean one thing: it’s pumpkin carving time!

Fortunately, we can supply you with the pumpkins. Take a wagon ride out to the pumpkin patch or choose a pretty pre-picked pumpkin during Hensler’s Fall Fest. We have the raw materials you need, so rely on your creativity to carve up a few truly terrifying jack o’lanterns.

Need a little pumpkin carving inspiration? No problem! Check out this gourd gallery:


5 Things You Should Know About Jack O’Lanterns

Pumpkin carving. It’s a Halloween tradition so many of us enjoy doing each year, which is why we love growing pumpkins here at Hensler’s.

For kids and adults alike, this fall activity is practically a requirement. Often fierce and sometimes funny, the annual appearance of the almighty jack o’lantern makes it clear that trick-or-treating, frightening costumes and All Hallows’ Eve aren’t far behind.

But how did the jack o’lantern become such a well known symbol of the season? Who started this wacky tradition anyway?

It’s an interesting story, one that began several hundred years ago in Ireland.

A Little Jack O’Lantern History & Trivia

  1. Jack O’Lanterns weren’t always in pumpkin form. Turnips were the preferred vegetable of the Irish who carved and illuminated them to ward off evil spirits on All Hallows’ Eve.
  2. Irish folklore tells the story of Stingy Jack, a notorious drunk who convinced the Devil to turn into a sixpence to pay his tab at the pub. In exchange, the Devil tried to claim Stingy Jack’s soul, but was tricked into letting Jack keep his soul. After God denied Jack’s entrance into Heaven, the Devil cursed Jack to walk the earth with nothing but an illuminated carved turnip. The Irish refer to this ghostly figure as Jack of the Lantern, or more simply, Jack O’Lantern.
  3. Pumpkins originated in North America and were unfamiliar to the Irish. When people from Ireland first came to America, they brought their carving tradition with them and were delighted to discover that pumpkins were ideal for their craft.
  4. Jack O’Lanterns were named after the flickering lights often seen over peat bogs. Spooky!
  5. Initially, carved pumpkins were associated with the harvest season in the United States, but sometime circa 1866 the jack o’lantern became a symbol for Halloween.

Hensler’s Wins at the 2010 Blueberry Festival Parade!

We had a great time at the Blueberry Festival Parade today, and we’ll be perfectly honest, winning the President’s and Judge’s awards for the second year in a row helped a little bit! As we were lining up at 7 a.m. we weren’t sure the weather was going to cooperate, but the morning turned out to be gorgeous. A perfect day for a parade!

We decorated our float this year with a train theme, and used fall decorations that we will also feature at our Fall Fest which is held at Hensler’s September 25th through October 31st. If you’re not familiar with Fall Fest, check out all of our family activities, Giant Pumpkin Weigh-off and ice-scream weekends on our Fall Fest page.

Meanwhile, all aboard and check out our video from the parade!


Decorating the Amphitheater for the Blueberry Festival

We were asked to decorate the amphitheater again this year in Centennial Park for the Blueberry Festival!

The left side of the amphitheater features our fall display: flowers, pumpkins, and hand crafted figures. The center column is graced with an 11′ sunflower. The grasses add motion as they catch any available breeze. The pumpkins add brightness. The red mums hint at the coming fall season.

The Pilgrim and the Indian character and all the display will return to Hensler Nursery at the conclusion of the Blueberry Festival and become part of the Fall Fest where it’s Fall! All Over the Place! Like all of our decorations, they are carefully crafted and painted by our local crafter, Donna Stanley, who always imparts a whimsical flair to her creations.

The 1106# pumpkin is the winner from the Indiana State Fair. It is on loan to Hensler’s and is part of the decor’ at the Amphitheater.


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