Looking for a great pumpkin?
BY WENDY ALTSCHULER For Sun-Times Media
Pickers show off their apple selections at Apple Holler in Sturtevant, Wisc.
Why sit around and wait for the Great Pumpkin? Picking your own is all in a day’s fun at these local pumpkin patches.
5006 S. Sylvania Ave. Sturtevant, WI 53177 (847) 886-8500
Sturtevant, WI 53177
Apple Holler, open year round, has so much to offer beyond pumpkin picking and hayrides. It has a full restaurant, bakery and live musical shows. This family-operated business also has barnyard animals and a full garden center. Catered food is available, and its pig roasts are the most popular.
Bentz Road Farm
6109 85th St.
Pleasant Prairie, WI 53158
Find fresh vegetables, pumpkins, cornstalks, gourds, a petting zoo and hay rides on the nearly 40 acres. What sets it apart is its guided nature walks, professional photography and landscaping trees at this truly beautiful farm.
16678 W. Aptakisic Rd. Prairie View, IL 60069 (847) 634-3291
Prairie View, IL 60069
Didier Farms grows a wide variety of pumpkins, including Big Macs that weigh more than 50 pounds. Go for a hayride, and don’t forget your cell phone in case you get lost in the corn maze. Kids can learn about Indian teepees and baby chicks. “We have many teaching materials in our educational barn that explain how chicks grow and their life cycle,” said Barb Didier, from Didier Farms. The farm stand is open every day from 9-6 p.m. Pumpkin Fest begins Sept. 21-Oct. 31: Mon.-Fri. 9 a.m.-5 p.m., Sat.-Sun. 10 a.m.-5 p.m. plus Columbus Day.
Pumpkin Farm &
40 W. Higgins Rd. South Barrington, IL 60010 (847) 428-6727
South Barrington, IL 60010
Start your day at Goebbert’s Fall Harvest Market for decorations and farm-fresh vegetables. Then, take the kids to Animal Land to see the pumpkin-eating dinosaur and all sorts of barnyard and exotic animals. Goebbert’s general manager, Sue Murdock, said that the Giraffe Barn is not to be missed. “You’ll be able to walk up a ramp and be eye-to-eye with the giraffes.”
Harms Farm and
4727 W. Crystal Lake Rd. McHenry, IL 60050 (815) 385-5385
McHenry, IL 60050
The farm is open for its fall festival season beginning Oct. 1. Hours are 8 a.m. - 7 p.m. on weekdays and 8 a.m.- 6 p.m. on weekends. Find a pumpkin train, bounce house, fun house, spook house, corn maze, petting zoo, Nessie’s Nest and haunted walk.
13236 W. Townline Rd. Waukegan, IL 60087 (847) 662-5733
Waukegan, IL 60087
Ruthann and Randy Kroll, owners of Kroll’s Farm, have outdone themselves with this year’s corn maze depicting a honey bee hive and honey bees. Ruthann designs the maze on graph paper, and the corn is cut to design when it’s about a foot tall. “Once the corn plants have matured, machetes are used to trim all of the leaves from out of the paths,” Ruthann said. “Then, we put woodchips on the paths a wheelbarrow at a time; a big job!” Visitors play a game in the maze helped by information and checkpoint signs. The emphasis is on agricultural education. The festivities begin Labor Day weekend and run through October. The hours are: Mon.-Thus. noon-8 p.m., Fri. noon-11 p.m., Sat. 10 a.m.-11 p.m. and Sun. 10 a.m.-7 p.m.
15900 W. Kelly Rd. NW Wadsworth, IL 60083 (847) 336-0120
Wadsworth, IL 60083
Pick pumpkins from a pony patch. “We have a big pony field where the kids can ride ponies,” said Dan Kelly, owner of Patch 22. “We decided to put a pumpkin patch out there and it was a big hit.” Pony rides are open Saturdays and Sundays in October, and kids who ride can pick free pumpkins while they last. The first couple of weekends will be the best time to pick pumpkins, which will also be available in the yard all month. “We’re a down-home kind of farm. We’re not an amusement park with high prices,” Kelly said. “We’re family operated and owned.” Visit Sat.-Sun. 10 a.m.-5 p.m.
15N440 Randall Rd. Sleepy Hollow, IL 60118 (847) 428-5244
Sleepy Hollow, IL 60118
The fall festival includes a corn maze and pumpkins as well as pony rides, concessions, train rides and a petting zoo on the weekends. During the week, produce and decorations are available for purchase. Free admission. Open 10 a.m. - 6 p.m. daily through October.
24153 W. Townline Rd. Lake Villa, IL 60046 (847) 838-0798
Lake Villa, IL 60046
The Heffernan family runs Susanna Farms, and the children and grandchildren help plant pumpkin seeds and tend the patch for its annual Family Harvest Days. The festival features hayrides, corn mazes, face painting and crafts. Laura Heffernan, youngest of the eleven Heffernan children, said, “The land was originally purchased by my maternal grandparents in the 1930s, and we are happy that we are able to keep it as open space and farm land. A portion of it was also recently sold to the Lake County Forest Preserve and will remain as Bluebird Meadow for the public to enjoy.” This year, Oct. 14-21 from the hours of 7-9:30 p.m., there will be a 20-minute haunted hayride for thrill-seekers above age 10 for $10 per person.
Additional reporting by Annie Alleman and Pauline Pang