Sizzle Simmer Sauté — Get your Fall on at Gust Brothers Pumpkin Farm

–by Jennifer Ruple


Jennifer Ruple

A simple activity to keep their young sons occupied at the farm became the vehicle that launched a full-fledged family operation. Gust Brothers Pumpkin Farm, located at 13639 Mulberry Rd. in Ottawa Lake, Mich., was established in 1989 when Dan and Terese Gust taught their children how to raise pumpkins. “With four little boys, we were just trying to keep them busy and give them something to do,” reminisced Mr. Gust. “Back then, they were growing their pumpkins and selling them by the side of the road,” he added.

Terese and Dan Gust

The farm, which has been in Mr. Gust’s family for just over 100 years, has grown since then offering everything to make the fall season magical including traditional and unusual shaped pumpkins and gourds, corn shocks, straw bales, chrysanthemums, handcrafted candles, cider and donuts, cookies, pies and hayrides. A u-pick station is available for all ages to pick their own flowers and vegetables. Guests are also invited to walk through the animal barn and visit with the calves, newborn piglets, and goats that love to receive treats from visitors.


After studying agriculture, the four sons all moved to homes within a mile of the farm. “They all went to college and came back,” said Mrs. Gust. “We’re so lucky they want to be involved because we couldn’t do it all by ourselves.” Each son plays a different role in the business. Mr. Gust explained, “Nate (35) is our donut maker, Joe (33) makes hay and does crop farming such as corn and soy beans, Jake (32) coordinates the u-pick and CSA programs, and Dave (28) grows the mums and is also involved in the crop farming. Their wives all help out with the farm too.”

The couple have nine grandchildren between the ages of 9 and 4 months who also enjoy getting in on the action. “The 4-month-old isn’t quite ready though,” laughed Mr. Gust. “Everyone is involved, and everyone pitches in. That’s a wonderful thing.”

Gust Brothers Pumpkin Farm remains open for the fall season through Oct. 31. U-pick flowers and vegetables are available until frost.

To help you enjoy the season even more, Mrs. Gust offers three of her family’s favorite pumpkin and apple recipes. Happy harvest!


Raw Apple Cake
4 cups apples, peeled and chopped
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
½ cup chopped nuts
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon cinnamon
2 cups flour
1 cup raisins
½ cup oil

In a large bowl, combine all ingredients together, except apples. Fold in apples last.

Pour mixture into a greased and floured 9 x 13 pan. Bake at 350 F for 50 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

Aunt Barb’s Apple Salad
2 apples, sliced
Dried cherries

¼ cup maple syrup
¼ cup mayonnaise
3 tablespoons white vinegar
2 teaspoons sugar
½ cup oil

Arrange salad ingredients on a large platter or in a bowl.

Whisk together dressing ingredients. Serve on the side of the salad.

Pumpkin Crunch
1 package yellow cake mix
15 ounce can pumpkin
12 ounces evaporated milk
3 eggs
1 ½ cups sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon salt
½ cup chopped pecans
1 cup butter

In a large bowl, mix together, pumpkin, milk, eggs, sugar, cinnamon and salt.

Spread mixture in a 9 x 13 baking dish. Sprinkle cake mix on top. Then sprinkle pecans over cake. Drizzle melted butter on top.

Bake at 350 F for 45-50 minutes.

Gust Brothers Pumpkin Farm

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