Pumpkin Picking Guide: Fall Festivals, Pumpkin Patches and Recycling-Made-Fun

Posted by / Friday, October 12th, 2012


“The traditional orange jack-o-lantern pumpkins are the biggest I’ve ever seen,” says Kevin Semones, member of the Virginia Pumpkin Growers Association, “and we’ve had great sales of specialty pumpkins (this year).” 

Virginia has approximately 3,000 acres of pumpkins, gourds, squash and other Halloween-related plants. From jack-o-lanterns to Pasty Klines, and Cinderellas to the Long Island cheese – there are several different types of pumpkins to choose from. They’re quickly becoming a trend among Virginia farmers who want to enter the direct sales market or want to get involved in festivals.

“This is popular with both farmers and the public,” says Matt Lohr, Commissioner at VDACS, “growers love it because they are selling (pumpkins) at retail instead of wholesale and get to keep more of their production dollars, (while) consumers enjoy the interaction with the farmers.”

Virginia farmers often plant a few acres of pumpkins to diversify their operations and generate extra income. At these farms, familes get to not only stop by to pick out a pumpkin to take home, but also get to spend a day at the farm navigating the corn maze, petting animals, roasting hot dogs, enjoying hay rides and more.

Below are a few farms in NoVA where you can pick your own pumpkin straight from the patch.

Buckland Farm Market
4484 Lee Highway; Warrenton; 540-341-4739; www.bucklandfarmmarket.com.
Burnside Farms
4905 James Madison Hwy; Haymarket; 703-753-5002; www.burnsidefarms.com.
Crooked Run Orchard
37883 East Main St, Purcellville; 540-338-6642; www.crookedrunorchard.com.
Rock Hill Honey Bee Farms
45 Pinto Lane, Stafford; 703-595-1179; www.rockhillhoneybeefarms-inc.com.
Snead’s Farm
18294 Tidewater Trail, Fredericksburg; 540-371-9328; www.sneadsfarm.com.

Other NoVA farms that are celebrating the pumpkin harvest with festivals, hayrides, corn mazes and more are listed below.
Cox Farms
Every day from 10:00 a.m.-6:00 p.m. Cox Farms will be celebrating the fall festival with giant slides, hay rides, the CORNundrum cornfield maze, rope swings, free apple cider, live entertainment, petting zoos and much more on their 90 acre farm. Take home a complimentary pumpkin on your way out afterwards. On Pumpkin Madness Weekend (Nov. 3-4) bring back your jack-o-lantern and they’ll recycle it in a fun way by dropping it from the high drop, squishing them in the squisher, or stomping them in the stomping grounds.  15621 Braddock Rd, Centreville; 703-830-4121; www.coxfarms.com. $9 on weekdays. $14 on weekends. $17 on prime weekends. Free admission for children under the age of two.
Ticonderoga Farms
The fall pumpkin festival at Ticonderoga will feature a petting zoo, mazes, tractor rides, corn-shucking demonstrations, enormous pillow bounces, s’mores roasting, turkey legs and more from 9:00 a.m.-6:00 p.m. every day. Admission includes free hay rides and a free pumpkin to take home afterwards. 26469 Ticonderoga Rd, Chantilly; 703-327-4424; www.ticonderoga.com. $8.95 per person on weekdays. $14.95 per person on weekends. Free admission for children under the age of two.
Leesburg Animal Park
Check out Leesburg Animal Park’s Pumpkinville Fall Fest, open daily from 9:00 a.m.-6:00 p.m., featuring giant hill slides, hay wagon rides, moon bounces, pony and camel rides, a pirate ship, free apple cider, and a free patch pumpkin to take home after. For a coupon on tickets, click here19270 James Monroe Hwy, Leesburg; 703-433-0002; www.leesburganimalpark.com. $8.50 per person on week days. $13.00 per person on weekends. Free admission for children under the age of two. 
Temple Hall Farm
Launch a pumpkin 100 yards through the air with their ‘pumpkin blasters’, see how high you can jump on their massive jumping pillows, check out their paintball shooting gallery – or check out their night time maize. When you’re finished, catch the pig race with a cup of cider or kettle corn at the Temple Hall Farm in Leesburg, open Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays. For discounts on tickets, click here. 15855 Limestone School Rd, Leesburg; 703-779-9372; www.nvrpa.org/park/the_maize/. $10 per adults (12+). $7 per children (3-11) and senior citizens. Free admission for children under the age of two.
Frying Pan Farm Park
Join the Frying Pan Farm Park for some free farm carnival fun Oct. 22-21 from 10:00 a.m.-3:00 p.m. Watch the cider press in action, milk a goat, shell some corn, peel apples, enjoy wagon rides and meet the farm’s animals On Thursday, Oct. 18, check out the Boo-stravagazna and come dressed in your favorite costume to enjoy games, wagon rides, and more. Take home a complimentary pumpkin and bag of treats afterwards. 2709 West Ox Rd, Herndon; 703-437-9101; www.fairfaxcounty.gov/parks/fryingpanpark/. Free admission.

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One Response

Ellen Parlee Says:

Many grocery stores sell pumpkins but it’s much more fun to go to the pumpkin patch and pick one out yourself. Some pumpkins are great for carving while others are nice for decoration or for the little ones to paint.

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