• Last modified 227 days ago (Dec. 6, 2023)


Farm transforms into nativity scene

Staff writer

Next weekend, visitors to a Goessel farm will be transported back more than 2,000 years to the night of Jesus’s birth.

Kristi and Brandon Unruh, owners of Patchwork Farms, 372 70th Rd., will put together a complete enactment of the Christmas story at the Unruhs’ farm.

Their youngest children, Braxton and Quinli, and 15 members of the Tabor Mennonite Church youth group will help.

The live nativity, featuring not simply Mary, Joseph, and Jesus but also other central characters of the story, will be open for viewing 5 to 7 p.m. Dec. 16 and 17.

“It starts in our front yard with Herod and an angel,” Kristi Unruh said. “Then you go to Bethlehem and see an angel.”

The next stop on the trip is the manger where the baby lies, surrounded by animals, being visited by shepherds and watched by an angel. Some of the animals in the manger will enter and leave, Unruh said.

“We have goats, donkey, alpaca, horse, and cows,” she said. “Dogs, cats, and chickens are free-roam, so they make an appearance when they want to.”

Christmas carols will be sung at each stop along the way.

The final stop will be a visit with wise men who came from afar to see the baby king.

After that, visitors who want to warm up will be able to go to the Unruh home for hot cocoa.

“It’s our youth group who are the main characters,” Unruh said. “It is a very meaningful experience.”

The night in the barn has been going on close to 20 years, but not always at Patchwork Farm, Unruh said.

“This will be the fifth year at our farm,” she said. “We have added lights to it.”

She was motivated to take over the display because her two older children grew up visiting and helping with the annual church project and she wanted her two younger children to be able to be part of it.

“We’ve made it quite a tradition,” she said. “It’s by donation. It’s a fundraiser for our youth group. It’s just so people can come out and experience it.”

When the farm isn’t used to display the Christmas story, the Unruhs raise beef, pork, and chickens. They also sell eggs and vegetables.

Chicken meat already is gone this year, but hens are still laying, and eggs are still for sale, she said.

The Unruhs have cattle ready to go to a butcher and are taking orders for halves or quarters.

They usually have meat processed at Peabody Sausage House.

Hamburger can be purchased at Patchwork Farm for $5 a pound.

For Christmas, the farm, in a joint effort with Goessel FFA, is selling poinsettias.

“We do not grow our own,” Unruh said. “We have them shipped in.”

In October, Patchwork Farm has a pumpkin patch. In May, is has a pick-your-own strawberry patch.

“In the summer, it’s our seasonal vegetables, whatever our surplus is,” she said.

Vegetables include tomatoes, potatoes, green beans, okra, and other vegetables the family chooses to grow in a large garden.

The farm does not yet have a farm store for customers, she said, but one is “kind of in progress.”

Last modified Dec. 6, 2023