It is indeed pumpkin season

The pumpkin patch offers a variety of different sizes for families. Photo by Kira’Fika Jackson

Goodbye summer, hello pumpkins.

If you’re looking to purchase pumpkins to get into the fall spirit, Gray Memorial United Methodist Church is holding its 15th annual pumpkin patch through Oct. 31.

The church is located off Old Bainbridge Road and is known for its festive fall events, like their pumpkin patch and their annual fall festival.

John and Susan Hutchison were volunteers at the pumpkin patch and said that their son is the chairman of UMC’s council.

“We’re like the assistant managers of the event. We couldn’t get anyone else out at this time, so me and my wife are out here conducting everything making sure the event turns out special for the families,” he said.

UMC is part of a nationwide partnership called Pumpkin Patch International, a Navajo reservation in New Mexico. Organizations like this make arrangements to gather home grown pumpkins all the way from New Mexico and then ship them nationally to churches or non-profit organizations.

In order for a church or non-profit to be eligible, the organization cannot be located within two miles of another pumpkin seller. After the pumpkin patch has concluded, organizations are able to donate the remaining pumpkins to other associations or to those who raise animals.

Photo by Kira’Fika Jackson

“There are only two pumpkin sellers besides us. At the end of the sell, if you are not in the business of servicing low-income groups, we are able to give the leftover pumpkins to people who also feed or raise animals. We are allowed to give them as many pumpkins as they can use,” John said.

UMC specifically donates a portion of their proceeds to the local organizations ECHO and Grace Mission Episcopal Church in Tallahassee.

The pumpkin patch offers countless pumpkins in different shapes, colors and sizes. They also offer two photo zones where families can take pictures with kid friendly scarecrows and blocks of straw bale.

Each pumpkin bought is used for the buyer’s personal use such as cooking, carving, and fall decorations and the price of each pumpkin varies on the size. The highest priced pumpkin is $21.

“We have had plenty of buyers that buy pumpkins for many reasons. We’ve had a lot that bought pumpkins for cooking and have told us that the smaller ones are the best for cooking because they’re sweeter,” Susan said.

“We’ve also been told that the green pumpkins are the best for pumpkin pies,” John added.

Billy Coward is an employee at the Commons student housing complex and said that they are hosting a pumpkin carving event and decided to stop by UMC to pick up some pumpkins.

“I drove by here and saw they were having a pumpkin patch and I said to myself, this would be perfect,” Coward said.  “They have a lot of shapes and sizes which I think is great.”

The church had its annual Fall Festival on Sunday, where kids were met with face painting, pony rides, bounce houses and more.

“We have fun and we meet some nice people. The fun part is watching the kids enjoy themselves. It’s all about having a good time,” Susan stated.

Operating hours are from noon to 7 p.m. with free admission.