ASHLAND, Va. (WRIC) — Tuesday was the first day of fall and that means it’s officially pumpkin picking season in Virginia, but how are farms faring in the pandemic?
8News went to check it out for ourselves, and discovered two local pumpkin patches are still flourishing.
No matter what color you like, whether it be green, orange, yellow or white, pumpkins are growing in abundance at local farms. Ken Gustafson, owner of Ashland Berry Farm, says October is their busy season.
“We plant five varieties of pumpkins out here,” said Gustafson. “So they’re different sizes and colors and people from all generations come out and pick ’em.”
Pumpkin pickers will have plenty to choose from with 30 acres to roam. With COVID-19 still looming, the farm has been prepping for months.
“We will be doing social distancing and we’ve been in touch with the health department,” said Gustafson. “There will be things that will be wiped down and there will be an air blast to sanitize other areas.”
Free hayrides will still be happening on the farm and the popular ‘Terror on the Farm’ is still a go! The farm’s four haunted houses will be open on Friday at 7 p.m. on October 2nd and are guaranteed to make you scream.
Over in Henrico County, Gallmeyer Farms is ready for all things pumpkin too! The fifth-generation farm was forced to cancel its three annual festivals due to the pandemic, but Stephen Gallmeyer, the owner, says picking season is here to stay.
“You can come to our farm and spend nothing but quality time with your family,” said Gallmeyer.
He goes on to say they will be practicing social distancing, have sanitizing stations, and have added plexi-glass to their produce market check-out.
“Being an open-air farm we have a little advantage,” said Gallmeyer. “We are not a brick and mortar store where air is stagnant. We got lots of fresh air.”
All the fresh air is leading both owners to expect an influx of people this season as many are looking for fun outdoor activities in the pandemic.
At both farms, masks are recommended, but not required.
Gallmeyer Farms picking season opens on Friday and Ashland Berry Farm has their pre-season picking event on Saturday and Sunday and will officially open October 3.
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