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Patches picking up
Pumpkins just part of experience
Abbey Hustis, 7, picks out a pumpkin Tuesday at Kinsey Family Farm. In addition to a pumpkin patch, the north Forsyth farm offers hayrides, apple cannons and a small petting zoo. - photo by Autumn McBride

At a glance
The following are among the local pumpkin patches:

Kinsey Family Farm
•  Where: 7170 Jot Em Down Road
• Contact: (770) 887-6028;
• Hours: 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily

Cumming First United Methodist Church
•  Where: 770 Canton Hwy.
• Contact: (770) 887-2900;
• Hours: noon to 7 p.m. daily; storytelling 9 a.m.-noon Tuesday-Thursday

Braemor Gardens
•  Where: 4335 Bethelview Road
• Contact: (770) 781-6677
• Hours: 2 to 8 p.m. daily; festival, 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Saturday and 1 to 5 p.m. Sunday

There’s no shortage of pumpkin patches throughout Forsyth County.

But with hayrides, storytelling and critters, there’s much more than pumpkins to be discovered this fall.

At Kinsey Family Farm, customers can make a full day of buying a pumpkin.

The north Forsyth farm offers hayrides and a try at their apple cannons. And in addition to the farm’s new, 1-acre sunflower farm, co-owner Andy Kinsey said they’ve also added a small petting zoo.

The zoo has cows and goats for children to feed and pet, which may be as much fun for Kinsey as the children.

“I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard kids go, ‘I’ve never been this close to a cow before,’” he said. “It cracks me up, being a country kid.

“It’s probably like when I go to the city and stare up at all the big buildings.”

The farm has been selling its stock of nearly 125,000 pounds of pumpkins of all shapes, textures, sizes and colors.

“These are the best pumpkins I think we’ve ever gotten,” Kinsey said.

At Cumming First United Methodist Church’s pumpkin patch, storytelling has long been a staple for children.

Kristy Thompson, director of children’s ministries, tells stories every Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday morning.

“It’s very cute. The kids ... run out into the patch and they try to find the biggest pumpkin, the smallest pumpkin the bumpiest pumpkin, and then they come up and sit on the hay bales and she tells them different stories,” said Cherie Perkins, who’s spent the past decade working alongside Thompson at the pumpkin patch.

After story time, children get “to visit with Corny the Crow.”

“He lives at the patch and the kids love him,” Perkins said. “Families come year after year to get their pumpkins and their children have so much fun in the patch and meeting Corny and just getting to spend the morning doing that.”

The church’s patch has about 3,000 pumpkins for sale, with proceeds going to children’s and youth ministries. The patch is also manned with the help of local families.

Perkins said the “whole church gets involved.”

“It’s a churchwide kind of tradition and it’s just a lot of fun,” she said.

The Braemor Gardens is only in its second year offering a pumpkin patch, but co-owner Kelly Hobbs hopes a special event this weekend will be the start of a fun family tradition.

The festival will have face painting, prizes for costumes, trick-or-treating and other fun entertainment for children.

“We love working with people and especially kids because we have a 2-year-old and a 4-year-old and they love to be a part of it too,” Hobbs said. 

The pumpkin patch also features gourds, squash, Indian corn, clay pumpkins, painted wooden yard art and collegiate-themed pumpkins.

“To me it’s just fun,” Hobbs said. “You can kind of recapture your youth again. Plus I love when the kids come through because they have all sorts of ideas and just watching them get excited about a pumpkin.”

Kinsey Family Farm has also added food to the mix this year. A new checkout area has been added to sell jams, jellies, ciders, breads, Ellijay apples and varieties of honey.

“That’s been pretty cool and people have been loving it,” Kinsey said. “You can’t walk past food.”

But the true draw are the pumpkins. While the classic orange jack-o-lanterns outsell other varieties 4-to-1, “this year more than ever, almost every wagon that comes in here has a multitude of colors,” Kinsey said.

“People really, really appreciate the variety,” he said. “We have a peanut gourd and it literally is kind of a peach color and it looks like someone has glued peanuts all over it. That’s been an interesting one.

“This year’s mantra is pumpkin variety, so we’ve been selling every different color pumpkin you can dream of.”