They're big and orange and ripe, and thousands are ready for picking at Cherry Hill Orchards in Pequea Township.
“There’s a lot of pumpkins out there,” market manger Ryan Shenk said Wednesday, calling it an “excellent crop.”
Shenk and other pumpkin growers who maintain pick-your-own patches in and around Lancaster County credited weather drier than the record-breaking rain in 2018.
A dry stretch right around harvest time in August and September really helped, according to Tim Elkner, horticulture education educator at the Penn State Extension Lancaster County office.
“You couldn’t have asked for a better time for it to dry off,” Elkner said.
Dry ground helps the crops to mature and reduces the chance of disease — not just for pumpkins but for all fall crops, he said.
“We have more pumpkins to pick than we ever have,” said Andrea Martin, assistant retail manager at Brecknock Orchard in Brecknock Township.
Martin said they took special care to cultivate the crop for this year, starting with prepping the field with fertilizer and testing PH levels about a year ago.
The work paid off, she said. There are more than 40 kinds of pumpkins and squash to pick from.
There’s also a variety at Brook Lawn Market in Manheim Township, from standard jack-o-lantern pumpkins to heirloom pumpkins and squash in colors and sizes.
“We have lovely pumpkins,” said Romaine Erb.
And after some unseasonably warm days the past few weeks, the weekend forecast includes highs in the 60s, according to the National Weather Service.
“Now that it feels like fall … it feels like it’s time to pick pumpkins,” Erb said.
Here are seven places in and around Lancaster County where you can pick your own.
Where: 390 Orchard Rd, Brecknock Township
Season: Pumpkin-picking will continue through the beginning of November.
Cost: Pumpkins are 65 cents a pound with a maximum cost of $35.
Hours: Through the first weekend in November, hours are Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday: 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Wednesday and Saturday hours are 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Brook Lawn Farm Market
Where: 2325 Lititz Pike, Manheim Township
Season: Pumpkin-picking continues through Saturday, Oct. 26.
Cost: Pumpkins are 59 cents a pound with a minimum price of $2.25.
Hours: Take a free wagon ride to the pumpkin patch at these times: Friday at 4 p.m and 4:30 p.m. and Saturday at 10 a.m., 11 a.m., noon, 1 p.m. and 2 p.m.
Cherry Hill Orchards
Where: 400 Long Lane, Pequea Township
Season: Call before you go to make sure pumpkin picking is still open,717-872-9311
Hours: Monday to Friday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Saturday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., with hay rides from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Cost: Pumpkins are 30 cents a pound.
Where: 211 Donerville Road, Manor Township
Season: Pumpkin-picking continues through Sunday, Oct. 27.
Hours: Friday from noon to 4 p.m., Saturday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. The only way to get to the patch is by wagon ride; pay $1 per person, ages 3 and up, for the ride.
Cost: 50 cents a pound for jack-o-lantern pumpkins; 60 cents a pound for specialty pumpkins
Masonic Village Farm Market
Where: 310 Eden View Road, West Donegal Township
Season: Pumpkin-picking continues through Oct. 20.
Hours: Saturday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. and Sunday from noon to 3 p.m.
Cost: 85 cents per pound
Where: 2900 Oregon Pike, Manheim Township
Season: The pumpkin patch is open until Oct. 27.
Hours: Take a free tractor and wagon ride to the patch Friday to Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Cost: Pumpkins range from $3 to $16, depending on size.
Where: 40 Fruit Lane, Robeson Township, Berks County
Season: Pumpkin-picking continues through late October.
Hours: Hours are Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Saturday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Cost: Pumpkins are 79 cents a pound.