Michigan Bucket List: U-Pick Pumpkin Patches
| 4 min read
A Michigan fall often means celebrating the trees turning vibrant colors and trips to farms to pick fresh pumpkins along with hayrides and getting lost in a corn maze. Perhaps no fall crop is put to a more visible use than pumpkins, which are synonymous with the harvest season and Halloween. Whether carving these orange orbs into cool designs or scary faces as jack-o-lanterns or using them for front porch or tabletop decorations, this fall fruit is everywhere you look as the calendar inches toward Oct. 31.
With all this decorating going on, it’s good thing pumpkins are so plentiful in Michigan. The Great Lakes State ranks fourth for pumpkin production in the country, according to the Michigan Ag Council. Roughly 79 million pounds of pumpkins are harvested annually in Michigan. About 5,000 acres of pumpkins are grown across the state each year. Most are planted in late May or early June and harvested in September. Most of Michigan’s pumpkins are sold fresh at grocery stores and farm markets. But there are plenty left for one of fall’s family-friendly adventures: a trip to a U-pick pumpkin patch.
Big health benefits
Although pumpkins are often thought of as decorations, they are nutrient-dense. Pumpkins are rich in antioxidants, vitamins and minerals, and both the flesh and seeds of the pumpkin provide many health-boosting nutrients. Pumpkin is also low in fat and calories, and rich in disease-fighting nutrients such as alpha-carotene, beta-carotene, fiber, vitamins C and E, potassium, magnesium and pantothenic acid. Looking for ways to add pumpkins to your fall meals, check out these recipes for pumpkin spice dishes or pumpkin snacks.
Find fun at pumpkin patches
Pumpkin patches are generally open by mid-September and welcome visitors until Halloween. To fully enjoy pumpkin season, find a pumpkin patch close to you. They are perfect spots to create autumn traditions and enjoy time together. Here is a sampling of pumpkin patches located across Michigan. Before you go, check their website or social media page to verify hours and amenities.
Bird’s Big Pumpkins, 16750 Hannan Road, Romulus: A large variety of pumpkins await, but also lots of fall decorations to choose from, including gourds and cornstalks. This farm is known for its “monster” pumpkins.
Blake Farms, 17985 Armada Center Road, Armada: There are three locations to search for the perfect carving or baking pumpkin. Stay for more Halloween fun, which includes a haunted hayride, a three-story haunted barn, Spookyland and zombie paintball.
Kackleberry Farm, 6421 N. Stoney Creek Road, Monroe: This place has a pumpkin patch and a whole lot more. Farm animals are on hand. So are apple-shooting cannons, a 7-acre corn maze, and a giant “Corn Poppers” trampoline. In the evening, bring your blanket and find a seat around the bonfire.
Northern Michigan & the UP
Nugent Orchards, 5565 Demerly Road, Benzonia: An expanded pumpkin patch and corn maze will greet visitors at this farm. The maze has wide pathways that can accommodate wagons and strollers.
Pond Hill Farm, 5699 S. Lake Shore Drive, Harbor Springs: This destination farm in Northern Michigan has Fall Fest weekends that include pumpkin picking, as well as pumpkin bowling and pumpkin smashing. A bounce house, hayrides and lawn games are also on tap.
Hayes Corn Maze and Pumpkin Patch, 3474 Saint Nicholas Road, Rock: This Upper Peninsula spot has a long list of fall activities, including duck racing, a straw tunnel, a pumpkin tree house and pedal racers.
Peacock Road Family Farm, 11854 Peacock Road, Laingsburg: Wagon rides to the pumpkin patch are just the start at this adventure spot. There’s a Barnyard Fun Park, pig races, lots of animals to visit and a train ride.
Johnson’s Pumpkin Farm, 4715 N. Portsmouth Road, Saginaw: With more than 80 different types of pumpkins, this place is sure to have something for the pumpkin perfectionist. They have tiny pumpkins and giants that weigh in at more than 50 pounds. They have fresh doughnuts on site, and games like the Pumpkin Chucker.
The Wild Pumpkin, 5799 Beaverton Road, Beaverton: Pick pumpkins out in the field and then stay for more fun on this farm. There’s an animal petting area, wagon rides, a corn maze and more.
Paulson’s Pumpkin Patch, 11164 Belding Road, Belding: Free weekend hayrides and pick-your-own-pumpkin options. This farm stand has a large variety of pumpkins and other decorative squashes, as well as other fruits and vegetables.
Bethke Farms, 12124 136th Ave., Grand Haven: A corn maze and hayrides await at this popular West Michigan spot. The farm offers a big selection of not only pumpkins, but gourds, corn decorations and fall mums.
Harvest Moon Acres Corn Maze & Fun Park, 18725 M-40, Gobles. The pumpkin patch is only one of the attractions here. This adventure spot features farm animals, a 5-acre corn maze and even a pumpkin slingshot.
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