Ed Schaefer – River City Six
Meet Ed Schaefer, owner of Bellevue Berry & Pumpkin Ranch (bellevueberryfarm.com).
Tell us about your business.
Bellevue Berry & Pumpkin Ranch is a family-owned farm that hosts some of the biggest metropolitan area events. Many brides, families, and corporations can be seen on the property enjoying their time in one of the four barn venues available for rent. Our focus has been on agricultural tourism. We grow, produce, and prepare all the food for our festivals and parties. Good, old-fashion farm entertainment is the key to our mission. In the fall we feature hayrides, campfires, activities for kids, and over 16 acres of all types of pumpkins and squash. At night starting late September, we also have on-site entertainment on the weekends with nightly scares in our haunted house and haunted hayrack ride.
How did you get started in the business?
I got started in the farming business back when I was working with the agricultural economics team at The United States Agency for International Development, which is part of the US Department of State. From there, I went to the Agricultural Food Nutrition office of the Government Accountability Office on Capitol Hill in Washington DC. I lived on a farm outside of DC before moving to Nebraska in 1985.
What is the biggest challenge you’ve faced professionally?
Our biggest challenge was to see if a small, 80-acre farm could survive in a big farm environment. We knew we had to grow quality products and market direct to the consumer. We wanted to create a comfortable space with activities guests could enjoy when on-site for an event. We have repeatedly been selected as winners of the Sarpy County People Choice Awards for Event Venue and Wedding Reception categories.
What is the most unique or interesting thing about you that most people probably don’t know?
Our farm comes alive for more than seven weeks in mid-September through October for the Annual Pumpkin Roundup and various Halloween activities. We host 1–2 mud runs per year and a weekly “Thursday Taco Night” for bike-riders and runners in the summer. We are the home of the Renaissance Festival of Nebraska that occurs on the first and second weekends in May, as well as the Midwest Pirate festival which takes place the last weekend of August. New events in 2019 included the Potter Festival in early June and a Day of The Dead celebration coming up during the first part of November. During the spring, people can be found on the property picking strawberries and sugar snap peas, and the summer is great for blackberries and raspberries!
What has been your most important achievement professionally?
Having a farm that is run by family members, including my sons Ty and Zach, as well as a devoted team of employees and volunteers.
What is your favorite thing to do on a day off?
Our family likes skiing in the winter and relaxing at our lake house in Beaver Lake. We also enjoy recycling lumber on the farm. Fun fact: When we moved to Nebraska at our current location off 48th St., between Highway 370 and Cornhusker Road, the farm had no buildings—every building you see on-site at the farm now was built by our family from recycled lumber we salvaged over the years.
What is your favorite quote or the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?
Never give up. Strive for your personal best every day and never accept anything less. If you don’t make your goal, remember that a person’s reach should be above his grasp. Otherwise, what is heaven for?
What is your favorite book or the last good book you read?
Small is Beautiful: A Study of Economics As If People Mattered by E. F. Schumacher.
What is your favorite movie?
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