We do so many outdoor wedding ceremonies, we always love it when we can celebrate a ceremony in the barn. Surrounded by century-old barnwood and their family and friends, Megan and Joey tied the knot on a gorgeous June day during our strawberry season. Congratulations, you two!
Photo credit to Copper Antler Photography.
This bright and happy wedding gave us all the summer feels. And this lovely young couple and their seriously fun wedding party kept us lovin' and laughin' all day long. Congratulations, Jenna + Cody!
Photo credit to the talented KMH Photography.
We do a lot of events in the barn. From fall season to weddings to holiday parties, we love to have people in the space. But all those different events require a lot of transition time, sometimes on a very tight schedule.
The good news is we have amazing employees who are always up for a challenge! Check out the video of us transitioning the barn from our fall season set up to a wedding set up in just three days!
You can make this little beauty for your porch on Thursday, November 29, 2018 at the farm! I bet you'll have just as much fun as our intern, Kyla, did!
For details, check out our Facebook page. Happy holidays!
With the first snow, we're looking back on a few of our summer weddings and dreaming of warm, long days. Ah, summer!
From Curly the llama to the donut-loving pigs to the itty bitty chicks, we live the real-life Charlotte's Web at the farm and we love every minute.
Life on the farm is pretty sweet for these guys: all the leftovers they can eat; a lot of people to rub their noses and scratch their backs; and and the best caretaker ever, Judy, who keeps them fed, warm, and happy in their barnyard homes.
Here's a peak at our animals through the years - here's to you, farm buddies!
Thanks for visiting us this year to say hello to the barnyard crew!
With fall season just around the corner, we've been pretty busy picking pumpkins, transitioning the barn space, and setting up all the fun on the farm. But the fall season work doesn't fall completely on the shoulders of our crew - there are a lot of people who help make this crazy thing we call a fall season work, and they deserve a lot of love for their willingness to go along with our schemes and ideas, amazing ingenuity, and all-around awesome-ness.
Our first pals are the family we have up at Larry's Welding in Lancaster. Kyle's uncles Larry and Vernon and cousin Eric and their guys have helped with all sorts of bizarre and random projects over the years. From the very first kettle corn machine (for a full story on THAT Frakenmachine, see our donut and kettle corn piece a few weeks ago) to the iconic cows to the big wagons that haul people out to the pumpkin patch every year - if it has metal on it, chances are these guys have had a hand in making it.
Kyle jokingly refers to them as the modern-day local blacksmiths: guys who have it all, can do it all, have seen it all, and - most importantly - can fix it all. You can find just about anything at the shop (even parts for some of your favorite fall season attractions, like the zip line!), and the breadth and depth of experience these guys have with fabrication is bar none. In all reality, Kyle's joke isn't really a joke at all, but a compliment to people who are so instrumental in bringing the fall season experience to you.
Larry and his guys do get to enjoy the fruits of their labor sometimes, too. In fact, you can usually see Larry out helping Kyle with random projects - like moving buildings onto the property - or clearing tables during busy days in the fall, or on the golf cart with grandma, just taking it all in.
A few miles away is Stonefront Farms and our friend Andy Buttles. These guys are not only our go-to for equipment we don't have (post hole diggers, skid loaders - you name it), but they are also our source for animals for our petting zoo. Those sweet calves you pet and feed during fall season come right from their farm to ours. On the other end of the food chain, some of the hamburger we serve during fall season and at our other events is locally sourced right from their farm.
The staff at Stonefront also has the distinct honor of being our designated taste testers. When we started experimenting with pizza or when we add new menu items, the staff at Stonefront Farms are willing and discerning food testers. And they almost always get the first batches of donuts for the season, just to make sure we've got them exactly right. And they seem really okay with that!
Another local business that fills a niche in the cogs of fall season life is West End Salvage, Kyle's go-to place for hard-to-find, unique, odd, and off-the-wall items for his equally unique, odd, and off-the-wall projects. There he's found wagon axles and running gears and tons of other random stuff - his best finds being some parts for the air cannon (specifically the tank that holds the air and the car axle the cannon sits on). And just the other day he pulled out two stainless steel sinks from the piles. He doesn't need them, but he might use them some day. Their good eye and Kyle's passion for transforming discarded items has made for quite a few important pieces in the fall season experience.
Our last shoutout goes to John Edge and Edge Electric. Not only did these guys do all the wiring and electric in the new red barn, but John and his crew are always there for us when we need them. He pops over and fixes any problems we have and Kyle has used his boom truck (and John himself!) for projects like stringing up the lines for the zip line and putting up the windmill by the Windmill Shed.
John especially seems to find problems to fix at the barn when we're making donuts. He has what we all wish we had: a sixth sense for when those delicious little donuts are being made. And he always find the opportunity to snag a few. We don't care. We'd literally be in the dark without him.
Thank you, farm friends. We wouldn't be where we are today without you!
In the early years, operating the kettle corn machine came with very specific instructions:
Don't use too much oil. Stir frequently. And when it catches on fire, shut off the gas and go find Kyle.
Back in that day, the $5,000 price tag on a new kettle corn machine was a little out of Kyle's budget, so he rounded up some family members and they put their "sure, I can make that" farmer attitude to work. The very first kettle corn machine was a product of a conversation with a knowledgeable carnival worker, quite a bit of YouTube research, some spare parts in the barn, and a little welding, It was what Kyle calls "a little quirky," but it did the job...that is, until it caught on fire. (And, yes, the answer to your question is, it did catch on fire...twice.)
Today, Kyle has a less Frankenstein monster-esque kettle corn machine, one that our employees can operate without needing a fire extinguisher at arm's reach. And these delicious kernels are a fall season staple!
The origins of our apple cider donuts also started under unusual circumstance. The summer Kyle decided to add the Snack Shack onto the old white barn, donuts were high on the list for food offerings, but the machine to make them was difficult to find. At that time, he was working pretty closely with the Grant County Fair board and had gotten to know the carnival operator very well. Kyle mentioned he was looking to add donuts to the fall season during a chat with him one day...and wouldn't you know - the guy had an old donut machine lying around in a trailer that he was going to toss out.
So the old donut machine came to call Vesperman Farms home. It didn't make great-looking donuts - they were misshapen and uneven - but the staff couldn't keep up with the orders. And Kyle knew that they were on to something with these donuts.
Although maybe not as dangerous as that first kettle corn machine, a lot of problem solving when into that first donut machine. Twice in that first fall season Kyle had to overnight parts when the motor burned up. And because the thing was old, there wasn't even a motor that fit it, so he spent nights reworking the motor to fit the machine.
Since that forgotten donut machine, Kyle has since upgraded to two newer models that are much more efficient and precise. Now we make 75-100,000 donuts every fall season!
Later one of those same motors ended up in the kettle corn machine, running the first auto-stir function that saved Kyle and his staff from some serious burns from hot, popping sugar. (Kyle used to dress basically like a beekeeper to keep himself from getting burned while stirring the popcorn.)
Donut making then....
...and donut making now!
Both the donuts and kettle corn have found their niche at the farm, and oftentimes are the favorite part of fall season for many of our guests. It's been fun for Kyle to see both foods evolve and take their own special place in many people's fall season experience. These fall treats are available soon - fall season starts September 22!
Can I just wax poetic about loaded baked potatoes for a minute?
Okay, you said no, but I'm going to do it anyway. Sorry.
There's no food that says sweet summer nights to me more than a loaded baked potato in a cardboard boat. Grab it from a food truck and then dish up your toppings at the condiment station. Eat it with a spork (or eventually your fingers because the spork would always break) while walking through the lights and the noise and the carnival color. Just pure deliciousness in the simplest of forms.
Now, baked potatoes are saying sweet fall days because they are making their debut at the farm this season. And I am so excited because I didn't think fall could get better...but it did. Good hearty potatoes with good hearty toppings. I'll be first in line to get mine!
This is just your average premium-selected, dry-rubbed-in-a-special-blend-of-herbs-and-spices, and slow-smoked-for-eight-hours brisket sandwich that you can find pretty much everywhere.
That's a lie. This brisket is pretty special, and you can get it here on the farm this fall season. You don't even need the sauces. They're really just for show.
Fun on the farm...in blog form!