Among the Apples and Artillery

During a recent trip to Wightman’s Farms in Morristown to grab some apples and cider donuts, it was hard to ignore the surprising allure of the farm’s central attraction—the pumpkin slingshot.

Wightman’s offers the typical array of entertainment and curiosities designed to command a child’s attention, but the line for this peculiar piece of artillery was easily twice as long as that of the hayride and the corn maze. Parents were lined up about 50 yards deep to give their little ones an opportunity to launch plump projectiles through the air.

This must be a recent development. My parents took me to plenty of farms when I was young. I remember innumerable rides on incredibly itchy hay wagons to reach muddy fields where we picked decidedly imperfect pumpkins. As far as I’m concerned, that time would have been better spent seeing how far I could fling those pumpkins using a gigantic, Jerry-rigged propulsion device.

The slingshot is simple: Two wooden posts are stuck in the ground with a single elastic rope strung between them. The elastic rope has a kind of net in the middle where the pumpkins are loaded, cocked and released.

Great value is often derived from simple construction. That appears to be the case here. The crude device manages to captivate children of all ages, creating a joyous experience that will surely become a cherished childhood memory. It will certainly be better than: “Yeah, I went to farms at harvest time when I was a kid, and all I got was an itchy butt and some lousy pumpkins.”

Some childhood memories just aren’t meant to stand the test of time, I suppose. So, take a trip out to Wightman’s farms if you get a chance. Go for the apples, stay for the slingshot.

Click here for information about Wightman’s Farms.

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