This fall will look a bit different for Betsy (Stueve) Townsend and her crew at Bloomingcamp Ranch. Now entering her third season of managing the pie shop as well as the grounds she shared she’s embracing the change as it comes.
The change comes by way of a void, which Townsend hopes will be one which is temporary. In 2019 there will be no Harvest Festival at Bloomingcamp Ranch. It is an announcement which did not come easy for Townsend, yet circumstances beyond her control have made it necessary.
“I want to do it,” she said of the annual event, noting that a land acquisition has limited the current parking at the ranch. Something she feels is temporary but will make it impossible to host the popular festival this year.
“I believe there will hopefully be more in the future,” Townsend stated. “I just need to regroup and restructure and look to the future.”
Not one to dwell on something once she’s made peace with it, Townsend shared she is embracing the change and looking to the opportunities still available at the ranch.
Of the many additions added to the ranch since Townsend came on board two-and-a-half years ago are a number of private events: weddings, parties and field trips. Lots and lots of field trips.
“Last year I had three field trips and now I have a lot,” she said of the scheduled over the next few months.
She added that events will not end; rather the larger ones requiring significant parking will be placed on hold for now.
Fall also happens to lead to the holiday season, which is an extremely busy time for the bake shop. To properly prepare for the coming season and growing business, Townsend has added shipping to their website, as well as scheduled event appearances.
“It’s such a charming place,” Townsend said of the ranch and the memories it holds for her family and many others. “Having a vision and being able to create it. All the emotions of it (harvest), the music, the smells, the food, the kids running around. It’s like a classic, iconic feeling that you would see in a movie or something. Made me proud to give that to people. To create it … It’s like a movie.”
Through all the phone calls from vendors and attendees, Townsend admitted that she felt badly not being able to offer different news. When posed with the question of another location, she replied emphatically that Bloomingcamp Ranch is home to the Harvest Festival.
“There’s nowhere else in Oakdale that does anything remotely like this,” Townsend said.
“This is my happy place. I like coming here,” she continued. “I enjoy doing what I do with the people that I do it with every day. There’s a reason why I’m here. I’ve said from the beginning I don’t know what I’m doing. This all came from my husband getting a piece of pie.”
As she chuckles at the memory she remains honest, “From the beginning I’ve been going with the flow and learning as I go, because I didn’t have set expectations.”
And while the 2019 edition of the Harvest Festival won’t be on the schedule, she said there are still many reasons to make the short drive east of town to the ranch.
“I just needed the community to know I’m still here. Things are going to look a little different, but we’re still here,” she concluded. “Bring them out, your kids, your grandkids. Sure one thing has changed but we still have harvest, it just might look a little different.”