It may be too soon for jack o’lantern carving, but pumpkin picking season has officially begun. Montville farmers are ready to assist, offering patches of pumpkins of different shapes and sizes.
Ivan Bader, owner of Bader Farm, said for him, “picking” season is not just starting but continuing. Bader Farm offers pick-your-own vegetables through the summer and until the first frost. Vegetables available for picking include peppers, zucchini, eggplant and more. Some apples are available for picking, as well as flowers.
“Pumpkins will go until Halloween,” he said.
Bader’s Changebridge Road farm has been in operation through five generations since 1892, with the retail farm stand beginning operation in 1955. Bader said in the early days, people were not interested in picking their own produce.
“This thing with the people picking their own is relatively new in the farming industry,” he said.
Bader said the pick-your-own movement has really taken shape over the past 20 years as agricultural tourism has gained popularity.
Conklin Farm U-Pick, off of River Road, celebrated its opening weekend on Saturday, bringing back many fall favorites, according to Co-Owner Ginger Holmes. The farm has been in operation since 1916.
“We have some really great pumpkins, it was a great year for growing,” Holmes said.
Bader agreed and said this year has been particularly good for his tomato crops. He credited the farm’s irrigation system for giving the vegetables the perfect amount of water to help the fruits and vegetables grow to their full potential.
Ian Bader, Bader’s son, said now is a particularly good time for tomatoes.
“That’s their best time, in the fall,” he said.
As for unusual or large fall produce, Ivan Bader said his farm typically has at least one pumpkin that is over 100 lbs. Holmes said her farm has a 400-lb. pumpkin on display this year that was shipped in from Pennsylvania.
Conklin Farm will also be offering hay rides (haunted and non-haunted) throughout the season and a petting farm with goats, bunnies and chickens this year.
Both farms are selling homemade apple cider and Bader Farm also offers local honey.