Greenlee alumna looks back on turning family farm into popular pumpkin patch

CATEGORIES: Alumni, News
Gesiler Farms is shutting its doors for good Oct. 30. Submitted photo.

A beloved Bondurant family farm is open for its last year. Geisler Farms will end its 17th fall season Saturday, Oct. 30.

In 2005, Darrell and Malinda Geisler saw the untapped potential of their 1,100-acre corn and soybean farm and opened the gates to the public after careful research and preparation. The first year featured an eight-acre corn maze and one-quarter acre of pumpkins.

Malinda graduated with a degree in agricultural journalism in 1988 from Iowa State University. She’s utilized her knowledge of journalism to write news releases, manage social media and create promotional content for the farm.

Much like regular farming, the weather caused major setbacks to the pumpkin patch and corn maze. During its opening weekend in 2005, the Geislers contended with a ​​severe thunderstorm with 80-mph hurricane-force winds and hail. In 2020, the derecho damaged 95 percent of the corn maze. Despite the natural challenges, the Geislers persisted and continued to open and provide fall activities for families.

Every year, the Geislers added new attractions to the farm. In 2006, the farm added a chairlift to their hayride, making them one of the first ADA compliant hayrides in the country. In 2017, they started to host wedding ceremonies and receptions.

The owners now believe it’s time for them to move on to their next adventure. They are closing their last year with a cross and bible corn maze.

“It is time to experience the next chapter of our lives. Now we are going to focus on living rather than making a living,” Malinda said.

The last day of the fall season is Saturday, Oct. 30. Farm hours are 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays. The farm is open on Fridays in October from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. Admission is $8 for ages three and older and includes access to the corn maze, pedal karts, and big slide.