Another Fall, another turned page, and the 5 best pumpkin patches in the Washington, D.C. area. Let the gourd vibes roll! I always look forward to the changing of the seasons, and Autumn is so exciting.
What can I say? Life is gourd, I have nothing but gourd intentions, and without any further ado, here are my 5 favorite spots for gourd vibrations …
New Fall Colors in D.C.
Located in the beautiful rolling hills of northern Virginia, Wegmeyer Farms is definitely my favorite pick-your-own-pumpkin patch. You may know them for their delicious strawberries in the Spring, which I missed this season.
This authentic family-owned farm grows a very unique crop of different colored pumpkins. There are even some baby blues in the harvest, though orange dominates the Wegmeyer Farms palette.
Tickets are required for limiting crowds during coronavirus, allowing for a stress-free experience in the patch. Book early for the best pure experience. Even though we visited on a Saturday at 10 a.m., it was crowd free.
Gourds Galore at Gaver Farm
My second choice is Gaver Farm. I went on a Friday around 2 p.m., and it wasn’t crowded at all. I hear they are a bit busier on the weekend. Gaver Farm offers the perfect patch for all ages. Children laughing and running around adds to the festive feel, and their indulgent grandparents add to the spirit of the soon-to-be-here holiday season.
Tickets and time: Reservations are available only online; no tickets are sold on site. Your scheduled arrival time is the same as your reservation time with some leeway — you can arrive within the hour of your designated time. Example, a 9 a.m. time means you can arrive between 9 and 10 a.m. Visitors can stay as long as they like on the farm (within hours of operation). The number of tickets sold is reduced as the day progresses to ensure the farm doesn’t get crowded.
Out of My Gourd for Hartland Farm and Orchard
Hartland Farm and Orchard is a gorgeous farm. I previously visited their apple orchards, which have an amazing assortment of apples. On my second visit, the pumpkin patch was pretty picked over. I suggest calling before heading out, although their farm is a beautiful setting for a Fall picnic.
Pumpkins for a Cause
The Immanuel Church on-the-Hill’s Pumpkin Patch is celebrating its 27th annual fundraiser anniversary. It was my first visit and quite convenient if you don’t want to drive too far from the city. Located in Alexandria, Immanuel Church-on-the-Hill sells pumpkins of all sizes and shapes to earn money. Prices start at $1 and climb as high as the pumpkin is large. Homemade soups, baked goods, knit wear, and other seasonal items are also available. Social distancing was respected here along with mandatory masks. I only took my mask off for a quick photo.
The fundraiser goes through Oct. 31. Operating hours are Monday through Friday, noon to 6 p.m. Weekend hours are 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. There is no admission charge. I went early on a weekday to avoid the crowds that came later as I was leaving around 3:30 p.m.
Variety is the Vibe
The Nalls Produce collection of pumpkin varieties is one of the best I’ve seen. I actually love it and the beautiful display. Their displays are enchanting all throughout the year. Be sure to check out the peaches when they are ripe or spend a few afternoons poking around for ideas for your garden — Nalls is always perfect for taking a pic for the Gram. Believe it or not, Nalls has been serving Franconia farmers and gardeners for more than 50 years. The staff expertise and friendly advice alone is worth the visit.
Betcha Didn’t Know That …
American farmers grow more than 1.5 billion pounds (yep, B as in billions) of pumpkins a year.
In no particular order, the states with highest orange gourd counts are Pennsylvania, Ohio, California, Indiana, and Illinois.
Pumpkins are a fruit not a vegetable. They are from the seeds of a flowering plant. A vegetable is from an edible part of the plant, like roots, stems, and leaves.
Pumpkins, and gourds in general, are considered a New World food and are native to North America. It’s no surprise that they are a Thanksgiving tradition. I bet they were part of the Pilgrim’s first feast. Maybe not in pumpkin pie form, but definitely pumpkin was on the table.
I hope you will get to enjoy your local pumpkin patches or can visit one of these locations. These are my best five finds this season. Perhaps, I can expand my list next year. Let me know of any I should add.