The Wolfe Family Halloween Hayrides are back, and this year promises to be bigger, better (and scarier) than ever. Brothers Jeff and John Wolfe, owners of Wolfe’s Produce Market in Riverview, maintain the largest selection of seasonal pumpkins in the area, and decorate each year for the season with hay bales, corn stalks, decorative gourds, Indian corn and scarecrows.
“We want to give it the feel of an old-fashioned country market,” said Jeff. “We keep it clean and wholesome for the whole family to enjoy.”
Located at the corner of U.S. 301 and Bloomingdale Avenue, Wolfe’s Produce Market has been serving the community for eight years now.
“This was our dream,” said Jeff, who formed the business with twin brother John with the aim of providing the local community with a constant flow of fresh produce. The brothers grew up in Riverview, graduating from Riverview High School in 2003. They started in business together at age 20, heading down to Mississippi to participate in the cleanup of Hurricane Katrina, the costliest natural disaster and one of the five deadliest hurricanes in United States history.
“We went out on a limb, buying our own equipment and paying our own expenses,” said Jeff. But the business risk paid off, giving them enough income to come home and establish their next endeavor: Wolfe’s Tractor Service, specializing in the demolition and clearing of properties in the local community.
“Our customers have always been our neighbors, and they still are today,” said Jeff. “Some of them we’ve known all our lives.”
The brothers have moved from being single, risk-taking entrepreneurs to married family men with children. Jeff and wife Serena have16-month-old Lexie; John and wife Traci have 10-month-old Brooklyn. “They will be our most excited hayriders this year, I guarantee that,” said Jeff.
Tickets for the hayride, which winds through trails over 13 wooded acres adjacent to the produce market, are $7 each. While waiting to embark, folks can browse an enticing selection of candy apples, homemade jams, fragrant banana bread and fresh boiled peanuts straight from the boiling pot.
The Pumpkin Patch is open every day through October, and boasts a “Monster Pumpkin” that is yet to be unveiled. Hayrides are conducted on weekend evenings from 6 to 9:30 p.m., and those who come in costume receive free candy as a bonus.
In a time where big expensive theme parks are in vogue, he said, families often welcome the affordability and simplicity of days gone by. “There are plenty of big scary Halloween Haunted Houses people can go to,” he said, “but a lot of our customers say Wolfe’s Family Hayride is their favorite.”
Families from Riverview and the surrounding areas come back every year, and the event has become a favorite “date night” destination for many of the high schoolers in the area.
“It’s great for elementary and middle school kids,” said Hillsborough County school bus-driver Carol McFalls.
There is even a group from Sun City Center that makes the trip every year to enjoy the festive fall atmosphere.
“You won’t find blood, gore or chainsaw massacres on this hayride,” said Jeff. “But we do like to make it challenging enough for the teenagers.” He gave a mischievous grin and said: “I think they’ll find it interesting.”
Wolfe’s Produce Market is at 6005 U.S. 301 S. in Riverview, at the corner of Bloomingdale and 301. Open daily 8:30 a.m. – 7:30 p.m. For hayride dates and times, check their Facebook page or call 813-927-2203.