Check out one of these local pumpkin patches

By Garrett Ammesmaki,

Editor


Michele Bendt from Centerville picks out pumpkins on Monday, Sept. 26, at The Harvest off Highway 17 in Lennox. Photos: Garrett Ammesmaki



Heading into October means grey skies and halloween decorations.


If you’re looking to carve a jack-o-lantern, add a festive flair to your porch or want to try out some fall-themed recipes, there are places in and around Tea where you can get your pumpkin fix.


Roger’s Country Produce is nestled right in our backyard at 330 S. Mary Avenue, but in the front yard of Roger Heidinger’s house.


The charming oddity was started in 2008, when Heidinger was spurred on by family and friends wanting to buy some pumpkins.


There are 15 kinds of pumpkins, miniature pumpkins, squash and gourds in bins along the yard for you to look through at your leisure. The pumpkins are all locally grown on an acreage southwest of Wild Water West.


This year, Heidinger added watermelons to the mix.


You can find pumpkins from small to large at Rogers Country Produce on Monday through Friday between 5 pm and 8 pm, and Saturday through Sunday from noon to 6 pm. Heidinger will also selling at the Junkin Market Days at the Sioux Falls Expo Building on Friday and Saturday, Oct. 21-22.


If you’re still looking from the perfect pumpkin and don’t mind a bit of a drive, there’s a couple more pumpkin patches in the area to check out.


The Harvest Pumpkin Patch is right off Highway 17 on the outskirts of Lennox and owned by Dave and Gail Strausser. The couple have 50 varieties of pumpkin, squash and gourds for sale alongside various other produce.


This year was a little dry over the season, which forced the couple to source some produce elsewhere. But over 95 percent of the roughly 1000 vegetables they offer were locally sourced from their own 21 acres along Highway 17.


“We grow every color and shape and size of pumpkin, squash or gourd imaginable,” Dave said. “That’s our forte and what we’re known for.”


Those varieties of gourds, pumpkins and squash include watermelon pumpkins, cinderella pumpkins, swan gourds and many others.


The Harvest is also home to one of the Lennox area’s only giant pumpkin patches.


Dave’s pet project has pumpkins weighing in at around 200 pounds. He takes good care to grow the chunky pumpkins, which includes using blossoms, extra fertilizing and a “whole lot of water,” while limiting the amount of pumpkins to each vine.


They might not be big enough to enter into a competition — competitive pumpkins come in a lot chunkier at around 1,500 pounds — but they’re some of the biggest pumpkins you’ll find in Lennox, Dave said.


Gail has around 10 area pre-school classes lined up over the season to come out and learn everything there is to know about growing pumpkins. The area kids will enjoy classes in the barn which will include dissecting pumpkins, learning about seeds and how to grow. They’ll also get to run around in the giant pumpkin patch.


Hours for the Harvest are Monday through Friday 9 am to 6 pm and Saturday 9 am to 3 pm, but the closing time isn’t toi strict, according to Gail.


“We’re not going to throw anyone out of the patch, it’s not kind,” she said.


Dave and Gail are pretty busy with various different projects, so there isn’t much they do in terms of events for the season at The Harvest. If you’re looking for some pumpkins and neighborhood hangouts, look no further than The Good Earth Farm, located about 20 minutes south of Lennox.


Owner Nancy Kirstein said they’ll be doing Pizza and Pumpkins from 1 pm till 5 pm every Sunday until October 16.

The event will offer wood-fired pizzas with produce sourced from the farm, alongside a few different vendors. Kirstein said there will also be beer, wine and drinks available for people who want to make a day out of it.

“It’s free to come out to the farm and check out the pumpkins and the animals,” Kirstein said.