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10 Pittsburgh farm festivals where you can pick the perfect pumpkin

pumpkin picking
Candy Williams
September19/ 2017

It’s pumpkin-picking time! There’s nothing more fun this time of year than packing the kids in the car on a crisp fall day and heading to a pumpkin farm for some old-fashioned family fun.

The annual pumpkin harvest is a time to celebrate the season by enjoying a hayride to the pumpkin patch, a walk through a cornfield maze, some kid-friendly activities like face painting and pumpkin decorating, petting zoos, and of course, fall-favorite goodies like caramel apples, homemade apple cider, and other festival treats.

Pennsylvania is one of just six states responsible for producing about half of the country’s pumpkins, according to data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The other states are California, Ohio, Michigan, New York, and Illinois, which leads the nation in pumpkin crops.

Here are 10 fun-filled pumpkin farms to explore this fall:

pumpkin picking
Hop a ride on the trailer to get to the pumpkin patch at Triple B Farm,

Triple B Farms

At the family-run Triple B Farms in Forward Township, Suzanne Beinlich says pumpkin festivals are all about harvesting homegrown family fun and memories.

“All of Triple B’s activities are designed with adults and children in mind,” she says. “Kids love it when their dads and moms jump on the Jumping Pillow with them, race them up the Tire Mountain, then race them down the Liberty Tunnel Slide. The giggles are heard all over the farm.”

Triple B’s Fall Festival opens Sept. 23 and runs on weekends through “Halloweekend,” Oct. 28 and 29. Pumpkin Fun Yard admission includes a storybook pumpkinland, corn maze, Squirrel Hill Tunnel Slide, duck derby races, Rompin’ Rope Maze, and the observation beehive.

The fun includes two Mad Science and Magic-themed weekends and a Spookley Weekend featuring scavenger hunts. Hayrides are available during the festival. Pick-your-own pumpkins and apples are available at an additional cost.

pumpkin picking
Pumpkins, pumpkins everywhere at Soergel Orchards.

Soergel Orchards

Another family-run farm, in operation since the 1850s, Soergel Orchards kicks off its Fall Festival Sept. 23 and continues on weekends through the end of October.

Amy Soergel invites families to try “great food from our Back 40 BBQ and Food Barn, including roasted corn while supplies last and delicious desserts from our Sweet Saloon.” Kids will love the hayrides, pumpkin patch, kettle corn, pick-your-own apples, face painting, and games.

pumpkin picking
Kids can check their growth at Trax Farms’ pumpkin height chart.

Trax Farms

Trax Farms’ 48th Fall Festival begins Sept. 30 and continues weekends through the end of October. Families can plan an entire, very busy day with high-energy entertainment and delicious eats. Activities at the 150-year-old farm in Pittsburgh’s South Hills include a free petting zoo, hayrides, pumpkin patch, a three-acre corn maze, live music, and festival food.

Tickets may be purchased for individual activities, including a train, bouncy house, and bungee jumper. Prices range from $3 to $8 per activity. Hayrides offer a visit to the corn maze and pick-your-own pumpkins. Kids 2 years and younger are free.

The festival menu includes pulled pork sandwiches, kielbasa, corn dogs, apple dumplings with ice cream, hand-dipped caramel and candy apples, and fresh apple cider slush. New food vendors this year will feature vegan items, pitas, and wood-fire flatbreads.

pumpkin picking
Fields of pumpkins are lined up for picking at Schramm Farms & Orchards.

Schramm Farms & Orchards

Starting Sept. 30 through the end of October, Schramm Farms & Orchards in Harrison City, Westmoreland County, will sponsor its weekend Fall Festival. Visitors can hop on a hayride to the pumpkin fields to choose the perfect pumpkins. Kids can find their bliss playing in the play hay, corn stalk mazes, and the corn box, a large bin filled with dried corn, pails, and shovels. A wide selection of refreshments will be available.

Schramm Farms has been in its current location since third-generation farmer Eugene Schramm Sr. relocated it there in 1981. Today, his sons Hilary, John and Ralph run the farm, and his daughter Kathy operates Grandma’s Country Oven Bake Shoppe, with its full line of yummy baked goods, including pies.

pumpkin picking
Little pumpkin pickers head to the fields at Cheeseman Farm.

Cheeseman Farm

Cheeseman Farm, Butler County, welcomes pumpkin pickers on weekends from Oct. 2 to Oct. 27. In addition to picking up a seasonal supply of honey, apple butter, and pumpkins, families can enjoy hay rides, a hay jump, and a petting zoo. Hayrides are $4 per person; free for kids 2 years and younger, with a grownup.

For families with older kids, the farm features Fright Farm with a haunted hayride, corn maze and walkthrough attractions starting Sept. 22 and select evenings during October. The spooky fun begins at dark and is geared toward teens. Kids 12 and younger must be accompanied by an adult.

pumpkin picking
Test your strength with the biggest pumpkin you can find at Shenot Farm & Market.

Shenot Farm & Market

Hayrides to the pumpkin patch and corn maze are popular attractions this time of year at Shenot Farm & Market, Marshall Township, a six-generation family farm. Beginning the last weekend in September and on weekends in October, plus Columbus Day on Oct. 9, hayrides are offered for $2 per person. Beyond pumpkins, you can buy fall decorations such as cornstalks, straw bales, and colorful Indian corn. Also on the bill of fare are apples, cider, vegetables, and homemade fudge.

SpringHouse

SpringHouse is a third-generation family dairy farm and old-fashioned country store and restaurant in North Strabane Township, Washington County, where tractor rides to the Pumpkin Patch are offered from Sept 22 – Oct. 31. Attractions include giant hay bales, oh-so-cute baby animals, and a 125-character PumpkinLand.

Great Pumpkin weekend festivals get underway Sept. 29 through Oct. 29, featuring pumpkin patch hayrides, giant bale climb and pipe slides, corn maze, Pumpkin Land Characters, and a petting zoo.

pumpkin picking
Make your way through the giant corn maze at Simmons Farm.

Simmons Farm

Fall activities abound at Simmons Farm in McMurray, from corn and hay mazes and hayrides to the five-acre pumpkin patch. Admire the artistry – and get a few ideas of your own – at pumpkin carving displays. Kids can have a blast at the corn play bin, petting zoo, the apple rock labyrinth, and a new straw bale lift.

There even are night hayrides – and private group hayrides – for watching the harvest moon Mondays through Saturdays through Nov. 4. Extra activities on weekends may include food concessions, live country music, and apple picking.

pumpkin picking
Craft activities are part of the fun at Hozak Farm’s festival.

Hozak Farms

Free tractor-drawn hayrides to the pumpkin patch are offered weekday afternoons in October at Hozak Farms in Findlay Township, in addition to pumpkin painting, a straw pile, maze and farm animals. The farm’s Fall Festival will take place on weekends beginning Sept. 30 through October, as well as on Columbus Day, Oct. 9. The fun stuff includes pumpkin painting, face painting, hayrides to the pumpkin patch, pumpkin picking, and refreshments.

pumpkin picking
Cute, fuzzy animals delight kids at Harvest Valley Farms.

Harvest Valley Farms

This small family farm located in Middlesex Township, Butler County, has been celebrating the fall season in a big way for 32 years. On weekends in October from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., the full-time working produce farm is transformed into a fun-filled, pick-your-own pumpkin festival. Harvest Valley Farms has a long history. Art King is a second-generation farmer; his son and business partner David King is third-generation. Art says their Fall Festival attracts “hundreds and hundreds” of families for seasonal pumpkin fun.

There is no admission fee to participate in activities such as pumpkin bowling, pumpkin carving, hayrides to the pumpkin patch, a cornstalk maze, farm animals, scheduled live music.

“I call it family fun on a real farm,” King says. “We do it for the kids.”

Candy Williams

Candy Williams is a freelance writer and journalist whose articles have appeared in national and local publications. She lives in the South Hills.