Loukonen Farms is a favorite pumpkin patch in Boulder CO. A family-run, old school pumpkin patch with loads of choices, great prices and good company.
Have you ever had one of those uplifting experiences that comes out of the blue, like finding something you lost and have longed to find?
Getting a call from a longtime treasured friend you have not spoken to in way too long? Something that shakes your immediate consciousness, changes the trajectory of your entire day and totally elevates you?
Stumbling upon Loukonen Farms was that for me.
For years now, almost a decade, I’ve driven up and down Highway 36 from Boulder to Lyons, noting from the corner of my eye a seasonal display of pumpkins on the side of the road out in the middle of nowhere.
I’ve never taken the time to stop and investigate, always being on a purposeful drive with a timeline.
This year something internal urged me to make an exception and though I was still on a schedule I felt I had enough time to jet in to look around. Was I ever glad I did.
Loukonen Farms Pumpkin Patch
You would easily find Loukonen Farms between mile markers 25 and 26 on the east side of the road.
Under normal conditions (a.k.a. not in October) it would just appear to be a house with ample land around it.
However come October you’ll note the vintage pick-up truck loaded to the brim with pumpkins announcing Loukonen Farms in painted hand script on the door.
The signs preceding the farm are also a giveaway.
A few words on each sign beckoning you closer: ‘Halloween Is Near, Pumpkins Are Here, 1 mile’.
No matter which way you are driving you are forewarned in orange and black and can’t miss it.
You’ll find a simple internationally understandable sign at the driveway of a pumpkin and arrow. After meeting John Loukonen I’m not surprised.
He’s a straight forward man with a gentile sensibility and a leaning toward direct, simple, no frills engagement.
As we drove in frankly expecting a few pumpkins piled in a driveway we were greeted by large groupings of all sorts squash and gourds.
They were all neatly laid out by type and separated by nice walkways.
Everything you could hope for was there; regular carving pumpkins, white pumpkins, Cinderella pumpkins, pie pumpkins, birdhouse gourds, decorative gourds, mini pumpkins and more I’m sure I’m forgetting.
There are an abundance to select from and real world prices.
Old School Pumpkin Patch
John’s Daughter in Law and her dog Chauncy helped us with our pumpkins choices.
We selected 1 medium sized pumpkin, 2 smaller pumpkins, 2 gourds, a mini pumpkin (still with tendrils that would make Martha Stewart launch a full on cat fight in the payment line to have its perfection grace her seasonal décor). $11. Seriously. They were all flawless.
I had a few questions which lead John to come out to chat. I liked him immediately.
He was one of those salt-of-the-earth kind of guys making me imagine him as a the new face of the en vogue ‘Know Your Farmer’ movement.
John Loukonen Farmer & Sculptor
I learned he’s had his pumpkin patch for 20 years.
People have asked him if he wouldn’t like to jazz it up a bit like more elaborate local venues with carnival type attractions but that’s not his style. He likes to keep things simple and straight forward. The best kind of ‘old school’.
He grows pumpkins, raises some cattle and hay. Somehow in our discussion it came out that he also does sculpture.
(Who knew? All this AND a Renaissance man.) His eyes absolutely lit up as he began to talk about it.
I asked if I could see some of his work and he generously took me to see a number of his pieces.
John works with Texas limestone and began his passion by taking a sculpting class in New Mexico. Afterward he decided he liked it and has continued to take a class yearly.
His sculptures are done with a pneumatic chisel which from all indicators does not reduce the intricacy of his work at all but maybe saves some hand joint pain (not being a sculptor, nor playing one on TV, that’s just my guess).
The art ranges from large statement pieces to more abstract Dali’esque motifs to Pop Art renditions of 3 foot high cigarette lighters and full size car batteries.
They are fascinating, inspired and clearly works of devotion by John.
Woven in and out of all this are the wonderful buildings on his property he’s adapted.
Being a bit of an architecture-o-phile I was completely smitten with the wooden cottage John internally renovated for showing some of his smaller work, the gorgeous weathered wooden barn where he keeps is chisel and the small shack which is the payment hub for the pumpkin patch.
In the end I did not want to leave. I wanted to spend the afternoon and learn more from John and his farm.
For the time I was there I felt there was no other place that could be more rich to be spending time. Why hadn’t I ever stopped in before I wondered?
John said simply, ‘You have to remember to take the side roads in life’. ‘Even when you don’t feel you have the time,’ I added.
Tips if you go
- The farm’s actual address is 10558 N. Foothills Highway (Hwy 36), Longmont but it cannot be missed driving down the highway as you near the juncture with 66 coming from Boulder.
- The pumpkin patch is open daily through October 31 from around 9:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.
- If you’d like to contact John about his sculptures you can do so by email (firstname.lastname@example.org) or by phone (303-823-6158).
Jeanine Reinke says
Toni: As a resident of Boulder, Louisville, Broomfield and Longmont, I too had never taken the time to stop at John’s farm until just a few weeks ago. It was everything that you said it was and brought back all the memories of my Grandmother’s Farm in Idaho that we visited a couple of times a year when we left the big city of Idaho Falls to go to the little ol’ town of Malad. I am sure those cities are not the same anymore–changed probably as much as Boulder has! However, I stopped after seeing the Halloween signs this year and purchased 30 hand-picked pumpkins for the Pumpkin Palooza Event we do every year for the students of my residence hall at CU Boulder. I was tired of the “gross” pumpkins from the grocery stores and can’t wait for the students to carve the farm-fresh ones from John. I met him and we had lots of reminiscent moments to talk about since I have been around as long as him! 🙂
Toni Dash says
I love hearing this Jeanine! I love John’s farm and sadly this year I’ve spent October in bed with a broken ankle propped on pillows so won’t get there this year. I can live vicariously through your visit.
I appreciate the hard work and simplicity of Loukonen Farm. Their pumpkins and prices are great. It’s nice to support someone who demonstrates care as they do.
Scott Wilson says
I have been meaning to track down this wonderful farm for ages and thanks to your story, I now have. I shot this image (link below) in October 2009, it seems just a week or so before your article was published, and it has proven to be one of my favorite and most popular images to date. We have just moved as a family to Colorado so I’m hoping the farm is still active as we’d love to visit this fall. Best wishes, Scott
Toni Dash says
Welcome to Colorado Scott! Loukonen Farm still puts out their signs every Halloween spaced yards from each other so you can read them as you get closer to the farm. We did not go last year but it’s really a gem, isn’t it? Maybe your first Colorado Halloween pumpkin gathering outing for this year?
Pure Simple Beautiful says
I know there are only a few days left to get your pumpkin before Halloween so most of you allready have. However, if you have not this is the perfect experience and the perfect farm! It is a simple and fun way to be able to pick out your halloween pumpkin with out also having to jump on bouncy castles, or ride a mini roller coaster. I know the kids love the jumpy castles and roller coasters, but I just can't figure out what they have to do with Halloween……. sometimes it's nice to show things down a bit, relax, walk around with the family in a beautiful low key, but amazing setting. If that is what you are looking for then this is the farm for you. However, if you want all the crazy hoopla then you may want to look elsewhere. Happy Halloween.
Dave from Lafayette says
My family and I stopped by this picture perfect farm off Hwy 36 on a return trip from Lyons.
They were friendly and authentic. Best of all the prices of the pumpkins were what you'd expect to pay for a squash, not what some over hyped farms/kiddie land pumpkin patches in Boulder County charge. It is a simple place like a farm should be, and not crowded. If you want to get a pumpkin to carve and skip the tourism of Fall, this farm is for you.
This was a great place for pumpkins! My husband and I took our three children to Loukonen Farm last weekend and we were treated to picking pumpkins in practically our own pumpkin patch. If your not up for picking our own pumpkins they have a large quantity already picked for you and not to mention the gourds galore, they made an awesome backdrop for pictures of the kids. The kids were also treated to watching someone who works at the farm carve a banjo player into a pumpkin, it was so great because there were not the huge crowds that you usually find at places such as these.
We also felt really good about supporting our local farmers and the pumpkin prices were the best we have found so far. We will go back to Loukonen Frams for pumpkins from now on, it's really a great find.
I bought John that old pick up many years ago when John and I were still married. Levi and Josh, our wonderful sons are also fantastic artist and their various forms of art work including sculptures, sand stone address stones, and other art work, etc. can also be seen on the Loukonen Farm. They helped create
and design much of what improvements you see at the Loukonen Farm throughout the years.
The Loukonen Farm holds many treasures created by the Loukonen family including John, Levi and Josh and many memories. Life is a journey filled with many side roads.