CHESTERFIELD, MO (KTVI)-- Farmers and real estate developers are usually at odds, but in Chesterfield, an unlikely friendship is allowing buildings and bales of hay to sit side by side.
Next year, Chip Rombach will celebrate the 100th anniversary of his family farm. But just months ago, achieving that milestone seemed more like a pipe dream. Many thought the Chesterfield Blue Valley development, which includes the new St. Louis Premium Outlets and borders Rombachs Farm, would wipe out the working farm and popular pumpkin patch for good.
“You can’t stop it, and you just have to try to work with it,” Rombach acknowledges.
Chesterfield Blue Valley developer Dean Wolfe adds, “I’ve tried, in the process of this development, to be a good neighbor. I think I’ve kept Chip informed as to what was going on.”
One concern was a 150-foot drainage ditch that would have flowed right through the middle of the farm, and right through the famed Great Pumpkin Pyramid. But Wolfe didn’t let that happen: “We looked at our alternatives and actually went under Olive Street Road with three 60-inch culverts.”
Now, Rombach is trying to get the word out, during their busiest time of year, that all those pumpkins are staying put: “All the time we get calls, emails, thinking we were closed. They just thought we sold out and was moving on, but we’re still here, taking it year by year.”
It’s a relief to all those who think fall is incomplete without a trip to Rombachs. Lifelong customer Michelle Oberlin says, “Every time before Halloween, my family comes here. Every single year. So it would definitely be really sad if it closed down.”
“It’s an awesome farmand we’re going to come back every year. I guarantee you that,” adds first-time customer Kara Pilz.
As a testament to their teamwork, Rombach is using some of Wolfe’s land as a parking lot for customers on their busiest days. He also says Rombachs Farm is getting additional business from outlet shoppers also looking to pick up a pumpkin.