TONIGHT: Mostly clear. Low: 28. Winds: North 5-10 mph.
FRIDAY: Mostly sunny. High: 41. Winds: North 10-15 mph.
Storm Team 20 Chief Meteorologist
Gail's Pumpkin Patch Ready for Season
When you think of autumn, you think of falling leaves, cider, and, of course, pumpkins.
Illinois is the leading producer of pumpkins in the United States. And whether you're looking for the perfect pumpkin to adorn your front porch, or to make a pie, you can find one at Gail's Pumpkin Patch in Beason.
Pumpkins, gourds, and squash span five acres at Gail's.
"The nice, great big pumpkin for Halloween, that's our favorite," co-owner Gail Appl-Sasse said.
This is the eighth season for the patch. And for Appl-Sasse, pumpkins are her passion.
"Why pumpkins? Because my husband and I like pumpkins," she said. "They always look bright and cheery on somebody's porch. People that come here are always happy and full of fun."
Last year, nearly 11,000 people visited Gail's Pumpkin Patch.
"We just planted some little bitty flat ones, little baby bears," Appl-Sasse said. "That's kind of a new one for us."
And baby bears are just one of dozens of types of pumpkins at Gail's.
"We have over 60 varieties of pumpkins," she said. "We have the typical great-looking orange pumpkin. Then we have whites and blues and Cinderellas, which are bright, brilliant orange."
Appl-Sasse said she has a much larger pumpkin crop this year compared to last year, when the state of Illinois experienced a devastating drought.
But the pumpkin-planting season wasn't free of challenges.
"Our first time we planted, about half of them got drowned out, so we planted again," Appl-Sasse said. "And then the next time we had another big rain, we replanted again. So we planted three different times, so the pumpkins are all different sizes and come to maturity at different times."
Despite the wet spring and dry summer, Appl-Sasse said she has an excellent pumpkin crop this year.
Although the pumpkins are hearty, they are a bit lighter in weight because of their lack of moisture.
That won't stop visitors from traveling from all over the state of Illinois to get their hands on the perfect pumpkin.
"Get a wagon, clippers, and out to the pumpkin patch you go," Appl-Sasse said.
Other attractions at Gail's Pumpkin Patch include apples, antique tractors, honey, and goats.