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The Guide: Pumpkin patches

Vox finds the perfect place to grab a pumpkin

Rob Bratney

First-grade teacher Susan Hogan, from California Elementary School in California, Mo., talks to students Anthony Almazan (left) and Jose Aquado (right) about the pumpkins they picked at Peach Tree Farm outside of Boonville. Many California first-graders were bused to Boonville for a day at the farm to enjoy hayrides, feed farm animals and pick pumpkins.

October 7, 2011 | 1:14 p.m. CST

Every year, around this time, people across the country are faced with an important, seemingly insurmountable task: picking the perfect pumpkin. Whether you need one for baking a tasty pie or carving a jack-o'-lantern, the options abound. Vox presents a list of places to grab the greatest gourds.

Boone County Farmers’ Market

Where: 1005 W. Worley St.
When: Saturdays, 8 a.m. to noon
Cost: $1-25
Call: 449-1631
The market carries many pumpkin options, including some from the Duncan family of Centertown, Tim Billings of Centralia and Peachtree Farms. Shoppers can find smaller pie pumpkins, which are round and best used in baking, as well as monsters weighing more than 100 pounds.

Columbia Farmers’ Market

Where: 1701 W. Ash St. and 3900 Forum Blvd.
When: Thursdays, 3 to 6 p.m. until Oct. 28 at 3900 Forum Blvd.; Saturdays, 8 a.m. to noon until Nov. 20 at 1701 W. Ash St.
Cost: 75 cents to $25 for pumpkins
Call: 823-6889
Support local growers without having to leave town. Several booths will be selling pumpkins this year, so there is a wide variety of vendors and types of gourd to choose from.

Fischer’s Pumpkin Patch and Corn Maze

Where: 1905 Old Mokane Road, Jefferson City
When: Fridays, 4 to 9 p.m.; Saturdays, noon to 9 p.m.; Sundays, 12 to 6 p.m.
Cost: $6 admission; 50 cents to $12 for pumpkins
Call: 636-0450
Fischer Farms, about 30 miles south of town, sells pumpkins that you can pick yourself from their patch. For just $1, you can get a hayride from the farm to the patch, and be sure to check out the 10-acre corn maze.

Hackman’s Farm

Where: 21550 S. Bush Landing, Hartsburg
When: Mondays through Sundays, 8 a.m. to dusk
Cost: $1-4
Call: 657-4556
The Hackman farm, located about 30 minutes south of Columbia, offers pie pumpkins, as well as 20-pound future jack-o’-lanterns.

Local Grocery Stores

If you’re looking for an easier way to find your future jack or are having a pumpkin-related emergency, local grocery stores, including Walmart, Hy-Vee, Gerbes and Schnucks, sell pumpkins. Prices begin at $3 for a basketball-sized gourd. Smaller pumpkins for basic decorations or cooking sell for about $1.

Peach Tree Farm

Where: 24863 Hwy. 98, Boonville  
When: Mondays through Saturdays, 10 a.m. until dark; Sundays, 1 p.m. until dark
Cost: $5 admission; 75 cents to $40 for pumpkins
Call: 660-882-8009
Peach Tree Farm encourages visitors to pick their own pumpkins from their large patch. While there, be sure to check out the straw maze and the oh-so-adorable petting zoo, too.

Shryocks Callaway Farms

Where: 2927 County Road 253
When: Fridays, 4 to 9 p.m.; Saturdays, 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.; Sundays, 2 to 6 p.m.
Cost: $3-6 for pumpkins
Call: 592-0191
Shryocks carries pumpkins from local growers throughout the month of October, but the real attraction is the giant corn maze that’s celebrating its 10th year in 2011. Pick up some pumpkins while you’re there, but plan to stay for a hayride or to tackle the huge, intricate maze.

Wilson’s Garden Center

Where: 709 Business Loop 70 E.
When: Mondays through Saturdays, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Sundays, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Cost: 75 cents to $40 for pumpkins
Call: 445-2853
Wilson’s Garden Center offers fall gourds in all shapes and sizes, including unusually colored squash and exceptionally large pumpkins that they decorate themselves.

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