Jim's Apple Farm

Jerry “The Soda Guy” Kornder, an employee of Jim’s Apple Farm who organizes the fundraising program, said several teams have successfully raised money for their causes already this fall. The weekend of Sept. 26-27, the Jordan High School Spanish Club earned over $1,000 toward a planned trip to Peru after helping to unload over 50 bins of pumpkins.

Harvest season is a busy time for Jim’s Apple Farm, said employee Jerry Kornder, who is more commonly referred to as “Jerry the Soda Guy.”

Between apples, pumpkins, squash and specialty gourds grown on the farm attached to Minnesota’s Largest Candy Store, store employees are spread thin trying to beat the frost and keep the cash registers running.

“We asked ourselves what other organizations were doing to handle a large swell in labor,” Kornder said.

They found that other seasonal businesses in the area handled the swells by bringing in teams of high schoolers. They then tailored that concept to fit their needs in the pumpkin patch.

On weekends in September and October (or until crops are gone), teams ranging from sporting and robotics groups to mission trips and cheerleading squads can schedule a time to put in work on the farm. In exchange for their labor, they’ll earn money toward their cause.

Kornder says any “group of people willing to trade honest work for money for (a) cause” is welcome to apply.

Each crew spends three to six hours lining up and cleaning pumpkins, loading them into bins and unloading them at the store. Lunch is also provided.

Kornder said the event has been successful in the past and last year “every single orange pumpkin” was picked from the field. This year, the field size has increased by 70% to 35 acres of pumpkin, squash and gourds, so there is plenty left to pick, weather permitting.

Kornder said there are still some openings left in the month of October, but spaces fill up quickly. To inquire about an application or to schedule a fundraising time-slot, contact jerrythesodaguy@gmail.com.

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