For Kyle's cousin Kelsy, Vesperman Farms is all about family.
"I remember times when the fall season wasn’t so big. My family worked there - my uncles drove the tractors and us kids would just run around. We kind of had the run of the land and we just explored. It was so fun to be there and hang out and spend time with family."
"Oh," she adds, laughing as she remembers. "And there was this crazy llama. We spent a lot of time with him."
Kelsy was around for the early years of the pumpkin patch as well. "I don't remember how old I was when we first started selling pumpkins," she said, speaking of the pumpkin market the Vespermans used to run on their grandparents' yard on the corner of Madison Street in Lancaster. "No one really 'staffed' it," she said, " I remember playing with this old lock box that people would drop their money into when they were done shopping for their pumpkins."
"The pumpkins would just cover my grandma's front porch," she remembers.
When Kyle moved the pumpkins to the farm in 2002, Kelsy spent a lot of time with her family running around on the farm and making memories. She remembers, "There were the old horses, the llama, and maybe some pigs. We had this old fridge for water and soda and we'd keep candy bars in there to keep them cool in the hot summer. It was so fun."
Then in 2011, Kyle added a lean-to on the old white barn and opened the Snack Shack. He bought a donut maker and started selling more food. In a small 10x10 room, Kelsy, her friend Katrina, and Judy would sell snacks and make donuts. "Making the donuts was so fun. We had this old machine that could only cook a few at a time - not like the set up Kyle has now that can cook a lot more at one time - and sometimes we'd have to flip the donuts because the machine was rickety and we had to help the donuts along."
Over the next few years, Kyle kept adding more and more to the farm: games, food - a lot of things you see today in the fall season. "Kyle goes after his ideas, and moves towards them. He's done so well and we're all really proud of him."
She adds, "When I was a kid, Grandma's house was where we could all meet and be a family. When Grandma moved out, we sort of lost our family base. But at the farm, Kyle has created a space where we can all be a family together again. And the best part is that he's created a space where other people can have that too. It’s so special for our family that we can use the land and the space for something so positive and beneficial. We are so happy to share our history and carry on our future with all the people who visit the farm every year and make memories there."
When she was a kid, Kelsy never would have guessed this is where the farm would be today, but it is so exciting for her and her family to keep seeing the farm evolve and change every year. But as far as her relationship with Kyle goes? Well, that's stayed the same.
"I love him," she says, "but we're cousins. He can really be a pain in the butt."
This story is part of our 15-Year Features series. For more stories, click on our 15-Year Features category!
Fun on the farm...in blog form!