When Bill Patterson saw an opportunity to build on the success of his operation, Farm Credit Mid-America helped finance his 10-year plan for growth.
An Agriculture Experience
While they have faced challenges during their six generations of family farming, Patterson Fruit Farm in Chesterland, Ohio, continues to shine as a model for creating and seeking opportunity in agriculture.
The operation has seen success with its core business—apples and fruit— while expanding into agritourism, enhancing the experience of customers who visit the farm and contributing to awareness of farming.
A Taste of Farm Life
Patterson Fruit Farm began drawing visitors to its farm in the mid-1950s, and soon saw the opportunity to connect people with the land where their food comes from through school trips and family outings.
They then decided to throw out hay bales for visiting students to climb on, just like the Patterson kids had done when they were young. Next came rides, play areas, a corn maze and, eventually, a Family Fun Fest that attracts 40,000 to 50,000 people a year. Those visitors also line up to buy the donuts, pies, fritters and other popular baked goods the farm sells year-round.
When owner Bill Patterson saw the opportunity to build on that success, he looked to Farm Credit Mid-America and they worked together on his 10-year plan for growth.
Now, with a new playground to draw visitors and a 2,500-square-foot expansion to increase baking output, Patterson Fruit Farm has experienced increased sales of donuts, pies and apple fritters.
“As I think about the opportunities, certainly there's no doubt about it that I've gotten back far more than anything I've ever given to the Farm Credit System,” Bill said.