Pumpkin Pickin' Fall Traditions

Halloween is right around the corner and signs of Autumn are popping up more and more with each passing day.  Louisvillians will soon be visiting their chosen pumpkin patches and family farms to partake in their favorite Fall customs and stock up on seasonal necessities. Nothing beats riding on the back of a tractor on your way out to the pumpkin patch while drinking a hot apple cider. The taste of hot apples, cinnamon, and spices makes the way out to search through those sticky vines to find the perfect carving pumpkin that much more special. 

One of the nice things about the Fall season in Louisville is that you don’t have to live in the Country to experience all that rural Kentucky has to offer.  Within a half an hour there are several farms that convert themselves into seasonal destinations.  Most of these farms include a pumpkin patch as their number one draw, but many are now offering a wide range of events, children’s activities, and food to set them apart.  

For as long as I can remember, my family has been going to Joe Huber’s Family Farm and Restaurant for our annual Pumpkin Pickin’ Fall tradition. Located in Starlight, Indiana, 22 miles from Louisville, Huber’s is my pick of pumpkin patch to go to if you are looking to sit down and have a delicious, southern meal as well.  The restaurant on the farm is the part of the day trip that I most look forward to every year.  When you go, order the family style meal, it’s the only way to do it, and you will get a table full of all the best in home-cooked food.  The fried chicken and homemade chicken and dumplings are the stars of the meal but all the sides including the green beans, corn, and mashed potatoes are delicious. There are two things you need to remember though when eating at the restaurant; make early reservations because during this time of year they are busy and can run out of things, and don’t fill up on the fried biscuits and homemade apple butter, just remember you can buy the apple butter in the gift shop.  Aside from the restaurant, Huber’s has a gift shop that makes fresh caramel apples, an assortment of fresh apple ciders, apple butters, as well as a full farmers market. Tractors are constantly taking folks out to the pumpkin patch and it has yet to disappoint me in finding the perfect pumpkin for my many years of jack-o-lanterns.  Huber’s also has a small area called the “Barnyard” that offers an area for children to play. Acow train, cartoon corn maze, and a tractor a wagon ride to see the farm animals are all included in the Barnyard. Lastt year, admission to this area cost money, so you may need to plan ahead for that.  For more information on Joe Huber’s Family Farm and Restaurant, go to www.joehubers.com.

Yesterday I received a call from a friend asking if I wanted to take the boys pumpkin picking.  I felt as if I was cheating on Huber’s, but seeing as though we have our family trip planned for next weekend, I thought it would be nice to get the boys out and check out some place new (and it would be ok as long as I didn’t buy a pumpkin).   Deere Farms is located in the Heart of Lanesville, Indiana, about a half hour away from Downtown Louisville.  Deere Farms offers a much different experience that Joe Huber’s, focusing on family activities rather than food. After an $8.00 charge for adults and a $5.00 charge for kids we were surprised to fin all the other charges involved with the trip. The only food that was offered was a concession stand with hot dogs and soft pretzels and a man grilling pork chops for $6 a pop.  I have to say though, that the activities for the kids were great.  The activities were basic farm activities taken to the next level.  A large tunnel slide, playground made of tractor tires, and truck bed filled with corn were among some of the highlights for my boys.  Deere Farms is also home to the largest corn maze and pumpkin patch in Indiana. Despite the fact that we thought it was too expensive, we ended up having a great time at Deere Farms.  For more information, go to www.deerefarms.com.

There are other farms closer to Louisville that can offer similar excursions including Sunny Acres Farm in J-town and Foxhollow Farm in Crestwood.  Both of these farms offer hayrides out to the pumpkin patch and can give you the same feeling of the other farms but close to home.  For more information on these farms go to www.sunnyacresfarmky.com and www.foxhollow.com

If you go every year, or have never been to a pumpkin patch, I could not suggest any higher either going for your first time, or supporting a new farm.  Pumpkin picking is my favorite family tradition, and I hope many of you get to enjoy it this season as well.  

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