Fishers developer buys Noblesville’s Stonycreek Farm

Stonycreek Farm Nursery & Landscaping in Noblesville is being sold to a developer, and the buyer hopes to preserve the property as a traditional Hamilton County family destination.

Fishers-based Boomerang Development LLC, one of the most active developers in Hamilton County, has the 50-acre farm under contract, president Corby Thompson told IBJ this week. The company hopes to close on the acquisition by mid-June after property inspections.

The farm has operated on East State Road 38 for nearly 50 years, providing numerous landscape services and often serving as a wedding and event venue. But it's better known to families across the region for holiday fun.

Stonycreek is widely recognized for its annual Pumpkin Harvest Festival, which offers pumpkin picking, a zipline, hayrides and more throughout the month of October. The annual event typically draws more than 50,000 visitors.

The farm also has served a longtime destination for school field trips and for cut-your-own Christmas trees.

Thompson, whose development firm mostly takes on residential projects, said when he learned the farm was on the market, he jumped at the opportunity to buy it before another developer could.

“I had it under contract with him in a day,” Thompson said. “I didn’t want it to get developed.”

Thompson said he remembers going to dances at the barn on the site as a kid, and he knows families across the area have made their own memories there.

"There are just these things in Noblesville that have meaning to me," he told IBJ. 

Stonycreek Farm Nursery & Landscaping got its start in 1967 in a small pumpkin patch on Sergeant Road near Geist Reservoir in Indianapolis. Loren Schmierer, an international marketing researcher for Eli Lilly and Co. subsidiary Elanco, didn’t want his children to miss out on the farming experience that he had growing up, so he bought the small farm and planted pumpkins, eventually inviting friends and neighbors to pick them.

Three years later, the farm outgrew its Indianapolis location, so Schmierer moved the business to the rolling farmland and woods at 1366 E. SR 38, where it has operated since. The property was once about twice its size before Schmierer sold off about half the acreage in the mid-1990s.

Schmierer, 83, told IBJ he decided to list the property because he’s ready to retire.

He had concerns about whether the property would be redeveloped, but he’s pleased Thompson and his team are going to attempt to preserve it, he said.

Thompson said he plans to maintain the property as a farm, and he even hopes to continue operating some of the programs families have come to know and love. The pumpkin festival won’t operate this year (it requires staffing resources Thompson doesn’t have in place yet), but he hopes to eventually relaunch it, he said.

For now, his efforts will focus on rehabbing the farm’s buildings, which need a fresh coat of paint and other improvements, and keeping up with general maintenance.

“It needs a lot of love,” he said.

Knowing that maintaining the farm won’t be cheap, he’s already been talking to the city of Noblesville and other organizations to see what resources might be available to help.

“If we can make it work financially, or even close, we’re going to be OK,” Thompson said. “If it’s going to be a drain, it might have to be developed.”

Schmierer this week held an auction to sell farming and landscaping items and antique equipment as he prepares to pass along the land. As he reflects on the past 50 years, he thanked the families who made the farm a tradition.

“I really appreciate so many people coming out over the ages,” he said. “I enjoyed doing the festival all these years."

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