SIDNEY, Ill. (WCIA) – “Right now, September and October, that’s like our super bowl,” Mitch Negangard, pumpkin farmer, said.
Pumpkins. It’s the name of the game for this family.
“Every day, every hour of the day we’re thinking pumpkins, we’re around pumpkins, and we love it,” he said. So, I’m the youngest grandson. So, I kind of run the pumpkin patch. My dad does all the farming. So, he kind of does all the other crops. And I kind of take care of the pumpkins.”
The Negangard pumpkin patch. It’s sort of a staple fall excursion for many in Central Illinois and now, people are flocking to the patch. Some even driving from hours away.
“We came from Deerfield,” Cindy Hoch said.
That’s because for a lot of people it’s tradition.
“We’ve been doing this for the last 11 years. Since I was pregnant with my daughter. My husband’s family is from the area, and they turned us on to this pumpkin patch,” she said. “And we’ve been coming here for the last ten years, and we all meet up and get a lot of pumpkins.”
But before the family traditions can continue and the pumpkins can be picked, the Negangards have to put in a lot of work behind the scenes.
“So there’s a lot more than meets the eye. Obviously, right now, October is the busy time when everything goes into play. But during the summer, there’s a lot of work. We watch it for weeds, we make sure they grow, right, we keep the bugs out of them, that sort of thing,” he said.
With all of that hard work comes an equally as hard job, picking the perfect pumpkin.
“Picking the best pumpkin? Everyone has their own taste and style. So for me, you know, I like the bigger ones. I love big pumpkins for like, you know, they’re carvable. They’re huge. They stand out,” he said.
But he said for others it can be different.
“No matter what pumpkin you want or like, you really got to make sure that there are no bad spots no holes, no soft spots. It’s got a good stem, and that’s going to give you longevity of the pumpkin,” he said. “And that goes for any shape, size, variety. It’s just making sure you have a good, solid pumpkin,
But for Hochs’ family they have a little bit more fun when it comes to picking their favorite squash
“The one that’s the most orange. The one that looks like a goose. The one that’s got the biggest bumps, and they’re all fantastic,” she said.
Negangards pumpkin patch is open until Halloween from 9 in the morning until dark.