From carving classic jack-o'-lanterns and festooning the front porch for fall to preparing pies with family, pumpkins are a season staple.
Produce stands, like Old Store Produce in Huntersville and Highway 16 Produce in Denver, have started stocking dozens of pumpkins and other fall favorites, like gooseneck gourds and pie pumpkins.
Madeline Phillips, owner of Old Store Produce, said she bought her first batch of the season from a local farmer, just a few miles down the road. Though she only has a small selection for now, she said she’s “waiting on a larger load” from a farm a bit farther away.
“We’re just waiting on the fall harvest for them to come in,” Phillips said, noting that she’ll have pumpkins of every size within most budgets. She sells them at 50 cents a pound.
Highway 16 Produce, soon-to-be called C&G Produce, also offers a wide variety of locally sourced pumpkins.
Michael Caldwell, the stand’s owner, said small pumpkins and gourds will start around $1 and larger pumpkins can go up to $40.
“We got some pumpkins for just about everybody,” Caldwell said. “The old owners got me hooked up with the right people.”
Though this is Caldwell’s first year running the stand, he’s keeping 13 years of tradition alive by using the local farmers, who are based out of Lincoln County and the surrounding areas, and honoring the price system that Gary Russell, the previous owner, had in place.
The week before Halloween, carving pumpkins will be sold at half-price. Pie pumpkins and gourds, which Caldwell said people use for baking and decorating, will be available through November.
Historic Rural Hill in Huntersville also offers locally harvested pumpkins in the $1-to-$40 price range.
Jessica Bustamante, the farm’s accountant and marketing specialist, said pumpkin sales will begin the last week in September, and a festival will be held Oct. 14 to celebrate all things pumpkin, from pies and pastries to picking and punkin chunkin.
Whether visitors opt to join the festival fun or pick the perfect pumpkin from the pile another day, there will be options to suit several styles.
“We sell itty-bitty baby-sized to ones you can barely get your arms around,” Bustamante said. “We also have heirloom pumpkins, which are fancier… white, green, spotted.”
Though pumpkins aren’t grown on Historic Rural Hill’s farm, pallets with stacks of pumpkins will be sprawled near the corn maze and the rustic decor and setting provide the pumpkin patch experience.
To turn pumpkin picking into a day of family fun, families may consider spending the day at Carrigan Farms in Mooresville. With hayrides, a petting zoo, an apple orchard and thousands of pick-from-the-vine pumpkins, this farm offers hours of fall, family-friendly activities. Entry cost is $10 and includes the cost of one pumpkin.
Old Store Produce is located at 14720 Brown Mill Road, Huntersville; Highway 16 Produce is at 3344 N.C. 16 N., Denver; Rural Hill, 4431 Neck Road, Huntersville; and Carrigan Farms, 1261 Oakridge Farm Hwy., Mooresville. Other pumpkin sales will also start taking place throughout the area to benefit churches and other organizations.