Despite the pandemic, pumpkin patches are flourishing and picking season is expected to soar this year

Coronavirus

ASHLAND, Va. (WRIC) — Tuesday is the first day of fall and that means it’s officially pumpkin picking season, but how are farms faring in the pandemic?

WFXR’s sister station went to check it out, visiting two local pumpkin patches and discovered despite COVID-19, fields are still flourishing.

pumpkins with bumps in a pile pumpkin patch wow look at all these good pumps
No matter what color you like, whether it be green, orange, yellow or white, pumpkins are growing in abundance at local farms.

No matter what color you like, whether it be green, orange, yellow or white, pumpkins are growing in abundance at local farms. Ken Gustafson, owner of Ashland Berry Farm, says October is their busy season.

“We plant five varieties of pumpkins out here,” said Gustafson. “So they’re different sizes and colors and people from all generations come out and pick ’em.”

Pumpkin pickers will have plenty to choose from with 30 acres to roam. With COVID-19 still looming, the farm has been prepping for months.

“We will be doing social distancing and we’ve been in touch with the health department,” said Gustafson. “There will be things that will be wiped down and there will be an air blast to sanitize other areas.”

Free hayrides will still be happening on the farm and the popular ‘Terror on the Farm’ is still a go!T he farms four haunted houses will be open on Friday at 7 p.m. on October 2nd and are guaranteed to make you scream.

Over in Henrico County, Gallmeyer Farms is ready for all things pumpkin too! The fifth-generation farm was forced to cancel its three annual festivals due to the pandemic, but Stephen Gallmeyer, the owner, says picking season is here to stay.

a man juggling pumpkins at a pumpkin patch
All the fresh air is leading both owners to expect an influx of people this season as many are looking for fun outdoor activities in the pandemic.

“You can come to our farm and spend nothing but quality time with your family,” said Gallmeyer.
He goes on to say they will be practicing social distancing, have sanitizing stations, and have added plexi-glass to their produce market check-out.

“Being an open-air farm we have a little advantage,” said Gallmeyer. “We are not a brick and mortar store where air is stagnant. We got lots of fresh air.”

All the fresh air is leading both owners to expect an influx of people this season as many are looking for fun outdoor activities in the pandemic.

At both farms, masks are recommended not required.

Gallmeyer Farms picking season opens on Friday and Ashland Berry Farm has their pre-season picking event on Saturday and Sunday and will officially open Oct. 3.

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