From strawberries to pumpkins, Storm Farms transforms for fall season

Johanna Storm loves everything about growing food, and is now expanding beyond strawberries

  • Johanna Storm, owner of Storm Farms, displays one of her pumpkins (Courtesy Russ Rendon / Arlington Voice)
    Johanna Storm, owner of Storm Farms, displays one of her pumpkins (Courtesy Russ Rendon / Arlington Voice)
  • Future Jack-O-Lanterns waiting for Halloween (Courtesy Russ Rendon / Arlington Voice)
    Future Jack-O-Lanterns waiting for Halloween (Courtesy Russ Rendon / Arlington Voice)
  • A Choga, one of the more unusual pumpkins at Storm Farms (Courtesy Russ Rendon / Arlington Voice)
    A Choga, one of the more unusual pumpkins at Storm Farms (Courtesy Russ Rendon / Arlington Voice)
  • A colorful Fairytale pumpkin from Storm Farms (Courtesy Russ Rendon / Arlington Voice)
    A colorful Fairytale pumpkin from Storm Farms (Courtesy Russ Rendon / Arlington Voice)
  • The Blue Hubbard pumpkin, one of many available at Storm Farms (Courtesy Russ Rendon / Arlington Voice)
    The Blue Hubbard pumpkin, one of many available at Storm Farms (Courtesy Russ Rendon / Arlington Voice)
Keven Costlow

When Johanna Storm was a little girl in DeSoto, she loved playing outside and dreamed of finding a job where she could be outside as much as possible.

That dream has come true, and she couldn’t be happier.

Storm now operates Storm Farms, a leased property off of South Bowen Road in Dalworthington Gardens. In the past year, she developed a strong strawberry patch, which was successful beyond her expectations.

And now she plans to do the same thing with pumpkins.

“I love it,” Storm said of her business. “We’ve been going a year, barely.  I learned a lot, and I’m already making improvements for next year.”

In the meantime, she has begun planting pumpkins, and already has several boxes of them ready for this month. Only a small percentage of her pumpkins can be eaten, so the majority will be future Jack-O-Lanterns.

“When we started growing the pumpkins we weren’t sure how many pumpkin plants we could fit into 1½ acres,” she said with a smile. “We had been growing strawberries, which are a lot smaller. I still have a lot to learn.”

Storm has a collection of pie pumpkins, which will be used for Thanksgiving, as well as a specialty pumpkin section, which are not edible and will be wearing a candle on Halloween.

After graduating from DeSoto High School, Storm enrolled at Texas A&M with plans to major in psychology. But after a couple of weeks of classes in Horticulture, she called her mother and told her there was a change in plans.

With her Bachelor of Science degree in Horticulture, Storm got a job with the Dallas Arboretum, which she enjoyed and prepared her well for her current job. But it didn’t satisfy her desire to grow food.

When this opportunity came along, she inquired about leasing the small farm, believing the worst that could happen was they’d say no.

But the owners agreed to let her try her hand at growing food, and with the success she’s had in the past year, she’s already making plans for next year.

“We want to add blueberries, and down the road get some peach and apple trees,” she said. “Blueberries are a little tricky, because they’re a permanent crop. They can’t be rotated.”

The next thing on her wishlist is being able to grow watermelons and cantaloupes in the summer time, along with purple hull peas and collard greens. In the future, she wants to be able to grow spinach, greens, kale and broccoli -- crops that can be grown in the winter time in Texas.

“I’m definitely in the right place at the right time,” she said. “When I get a little more experience, I can make plans a little better. This is good exercise and it’s a good learning experience, so I don’t regret a thing. I wouldn’t change a thing.”

Storm also had strong praise for her support group, which has been an invaluable resource for her in the past year.

“I’ve got a great family supporting me,” she said. “My parents live here (Dalworthington Gardens) and I couldn’t do this without them for sure.”

Storm also wants to give back to the community, helping people grow community gardens and working with Future Farmers of America classes. She has a policy that while the pumpkins she imported in for Jack-O-Lanterns are not organic, the ones she planted herself are.

All in all, it has been a successful year for Storm, who enjoys her work every single day, except, perhaps, in August, when it gets a little warm even for her. But she’ll be the first to admit that she couldn’t have asked for anything more.

“We got a good response from the public,” she said. “I love what I’m doing and the people enjoy it. That’s a really good feeling.”

Storm's pumpkin patch opens to the public on Saturday, Oct. 7. Hours of operation will be from Tuesday through Friday from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m., Saturday's from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., and Sunday's from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m.