Coeur d’Alene’s beloved farm-style experience
By Abigail Thorpe
A 100-year-old farm sits just north of Coeur d’Alene on Atlas Road and continues to provide the community with smiles, produce and a slice of old-fashioned farm goodness. Linda Swenson revitalized the farm as Prairie Home Farm in 2004 with a large pumpkin patch offering a diverse variety of pumpkins—including heirlooms—and fall produce and decor.
Open two days a week in October (Saturdays and Wednesdays), the farm is a step back in time. Old farm equipment and outdoor vignettes created by Swenson are the perfect backdrop for photo shoots, and the farm is home to 12 different kinds of farm animals for families to feed, pet and enjoy a fun day of farm life while hunting for their perfect pumpkin.
“I have customers’ children that I’ve watched grow up,” says Swenson. “They come and say hi at the market, and watching children who haven’t been on a farm respond to pigs, sheep, etc. makes me giddy!” Throughout October, the farm is available for field trips, barn rentals and birthday parties. Last year the farm had 1,831 children pass through its gates.
Swenson moved to Coeur d’Alene 19 years ago from Spokane, where she continued to work as a registered nurse. She went through the master gardener program just before buying the farm, and the pumpkin patch seemed to naturally follow. “I just had no idea it was going to get as big as it has,” she says.
In 2015 she started a bakery on the farm as a member of the Kootenai County Farmers’ Market, adding Lil’ Punkin Pie Co. to the company. She bakes each pie by hand from fruit grown on the farm or sourced locally at the market and offers pickup at the farm or orders for events like weddings and birthday parties.
The pie making company is very hands on and personal—a call from someone on a Sunday evening needing a pie for the following day will find Swenson out fruit picking early in the morning to make sure a pie is in-hand for company by the evening.
“My pies are very classic and simple, nothing fancy,” she says, “with fruit often picked on the farm the day before being baked into a pie. Every pie is homemade by me, in my bakery on my farm. Without a storefront I keep my business exactly where I want it.” Swenson has always baked and gardened; it’s in her blood. Her grandfather owned a bakery on the main street of a small town, and she was in the baking club in high school.
She started offering pie making classes several years ago, and it has become one of her most enjoyable aspects of the business. The Farm Pie School offers classes at the farm or individuals’ homes and focuses primarily on crust making. The classes include two hours of instruction, ingredients and the finished pie ready to take home and bake. The fourth Tuesday of each month Swenson offers open classes as needed on the farm. The experience has become a favorite offering of the farm and has taught many a young girl and boy how to make the perfect crust!
Teaching comes naturally to Swenson. She formerly taught at The Culinary Stone for several years, and continues to teach at a farm on Green Bluff as well as occasional classes at The Culinary Stone. In addition to her farming and baking, she and her husband are passionate about supporting the Kootenai Humane Society. “Last year, after wanting for years to do so, I hosted a fundraiser on the farm during pumpkin patch. It was so much fun I’m thinking it will become an annual thing.”
Stop for a visit to Prairie Home Farm, enjoy the true, simple spirit of farm life and take some family pics. You might even want to put in an order for a pie—your family (and guests) will love every morsel.
Prairie Home Farm/Lil’ Punkin Pie Co.
7790 North Atlas Road
Coeur d’Alene, Idaho 83835