In 1996, Sam and Mary Jane Roop wanted to begin a family project with their three small children (ages 10, 8, and 5). The idea was that this project would take the form of a small business and the profit would be saved for Julie, Lauren, and Jake’s college education. As Sam and Mary Jane began dreaming about the project and business, they wanted to incorporate agricultural education, the family farm, and each family member’s gifts and strengths.
Later that year, Brookfield Pumpkins was born. Sam and Mary Jane planted and harvested just one acre of pumpkins and gourds and much to their surprise, they quickly ran out of pumpkins (!) because business was that good! The public loved the patch and the experience of being on a working farm.
As the business grew, a lot changed. The girls stopped painting faces for a quarter and started selling produce and managing marketing and advertising. Sam wisely began planting up to 15 acres of pumpkins and became affectionately known to returning customers as “Farmer Sam”! (Fortunately, the patch has not run out of pumpkins since the first year of operation!) Jake, who once sat in the tractor cab while Farmer Sam planted pumpkins, now drives hayrides of customers to the patch. And Mary Jane, the brains behind the business, has been so moved by her faith and her own suffering that she now gives away all proceeds raised from the Corn Maze to local charities and ministries.