With October in full swing and Halloween just around the corner, families throughout Alabama have begun picking their family pumpkin patch. (Photo source // Farmer in the Dell)
The tradition of family pumpkin patches has grown beyond picking and carving the fall vegetable. Today patches throughout the state offer multiple family-friendly activities.
What to look for in a patch
When researching local pumpkin patches, shoppers should ensure the patches offer all the activities they want for their family. Many pumpkin patches offer:
Quality pumpkin picking
Different sized pumpkins fit different shoppers. Families with small children may want smaller pumpkins while teens and college-aged students may want larger pumpkins for carving. Therefore, shoppers should research to ensure their pumpkin patches have different sizes available.
This timeless tradition is for the whole family. While this is not as interactive, this allows for riders to enjoy the outdoor scenery and rest from the day’s picking.
Sunflowers are in peak season during the fall months. Sunflowers are not always offered at pumpkin patches, however, those that do offer a one-stop location for fall decorations.
Corn troughs are great options for families with small children. These often resemble sandboxes and contain small shovels and buckets for children to use for play.
Farm animals to feed
Animal feedings or petting zoos add an interactive touch to the patches and gives younger children experience with farm animals.
Buy from your local patch
Joe Kemble, an Alabama Extension Vegetable Specialist, said he encourages communities to support their local pumpkin patch. He said Facebook may be a good resource for families to find a patch in their area.
Marie Foshee, operations director at Farmer in the Dell said the support of the Auburn-Opelika area is vital to the success of their patch.
“One of the greatest privileges of having the pumpkin patch is getting to see families year after year,” Foshee said. “So much of what we do is for the community, so it’s a great encouragement when we see the smiles of people enjoying the farm. We’re so thankful for everyone that comes out to support us, whether that’s for the first time or the ninth time.”
For more information on the positive effects of buying locally, check out the following PDF.
For a list of patches throughout the state, visit the following website. Also, for more information on Alabama pumpkin patches, visit www.aces.edu or contact your local Extension agent for assistance in the field.