Founder Milton Ganyard is an 8th generation American farmer, with a rich history going back to 1753 when ancestor Pierre Gaignard came to this country from France via Haiti. Settling first in Connecticut, they anglicized their name to Ganyard and became dairy farmers for 4 generations, while migrating to the Western Reserve in Ohio, and then Georgia.
While Milton’s early aspirations were to become an airline pilot, he changed his mind during college! Continuing on to graduate school, he earned MS and PhD degrees in entomology, with a concentration in ecology. After a long career as a “Bug Doctor”, he began growing pumpkins and operating an agritourism farm in 1995.
One of the biggest challenges in this endeavor has been learning how to grow pumpkins in the hot southern climate. Fortunately, he has been quite successful for many seasons now in growing an average of about 30,000 pumpkins per year — most of which find their way into homes in the Triangle Area! Milton relates that the Upchurch farm has enough cropland acreage for him to attempt growing around 45,000 – 50,000 pumpkins per year!
“I take a lot of pride in giving kids, and adults alike, the opportunity to hunt among the vines of a genuine pumpkin field and pick a pumpkin from the mother plant, a rare experience in our southern climate,” says Farmer Ganyard.