Posted October 24, 2018
by Trevor Jones, OTELCO
Pumpkin Valley is a family owned farm in Dayton, ME and a proud OTELCO customer for over ten years. In 2002, the Harris family transformed their farm into a corn maze, and now every fall families come to get lost in their stalks.OTELCO took a trip to Dayton to check out the maze, and to talk to the family about how they use their OTELCO internet connection to run their business.
This year’s corn maze design is a nod to the 25th Anniversary of the Professional Bull Riders.
Keith Harris, who owns and runs the farm with his family, describes Pumpkin Valley as “a place where people can unplug.” Families can come and spend time together, getting lost in the maze and not in their phones. The maze itself is five acres, and even hosts a corn bridge to help lost travelers find their way out with a bird’s eye view.
Every year the Harris’s choose a fun theme for the maze. According to Keith, the Harris’ work with The Maize Co. each year to create the theme’s design, then they plow their cornfield into an intricate picture.
Keith’s favorite design, so far, is the first one, a big moose. This year the theme of the maze is the 25thAnniversary of the Professional Bull Riders. You could never tell from inside, but there is a giant bull mowed right into the maze.
The maze was just the beginning for Pumpkin Valley. Today the farm has over ten exciting activities for kids, and even grownups to enjoy. The newest addition to the farmyard is the Corn Pit. The corn pit is a large box filled with, literally, tons of corn kernels. Kids can take their shoes off and play in the corn, like a sandbox or ball pit but better!
Other fun activities in the farmyard include:
- Corn Cannons
- Duck Races
- The Jumping Pillow
- The Pumpkin Bounce House
- A Hay Ride to the PYO Pumpkin Field
- The Cow Train
- Face Painting
- Pumpkin Decorating
- Barrel Slides
- Cows, Goats, Chickens and a Donkey
Getting lost in a corn maze works up quite the appetite, luckily Pumpkin Valley offers lots of delicious treats. Another new addition to the farm is their wood fire pizza. The pizza is cooked in a brick oven created by a local stone mason. No electricity or gas involved, just wood and fire.
If pizza isn’t what you’re looking for, don’t fret, Pumpkin Valley also offers:
- Apple Cider
- Hot Dogs
- Kettle Corn and Cotton Candy made on-site
Creating a Connection
For some, it may be hard to imagine why a pumpkin farm needs Internet, but just like any other business, the Internet is a vital part of the Harris’ operation. The farm uses their OTELCO Internet service for a lot of things, from running their website to sharing photos on their Instagram.
With their OTELCO connection, Keith is able to collaborate with other corn maze owners via online forums and Facebook groups. It is a small community, and the Internet makes it easier for them to find each other. They are able to share ideas, ask questions and solve problems, something they wouldn’t be able to do otherwise.
Most importantly, the Internet helps Pumpkin Valley Farm stay in contact with their customers. According to Keith, “having a presence online reduces phone calls for directions by 90%.” Freeing up him and his staff to focus on creating a fun-filled family farm.
OTELCO was created over a hundred years ago by rural farmers, like Keith Harris, who needed to bring phone service to their farms. Today, the company is proud to continue their tradition of serving the rural farmers of Maine.
Tradition is important to Keith Harris as well, which is why he likes to use local businesses he can depend on. The farm is full of local culture, from the apples they use in their cider, to the oven they cook their pizza in. That is why the Keith uses OTELCO “In today’s tech world you need uninterrupted service” says Keith. “OTELCO is great because they are small and local.”