Hoefling’s Pumpkin Patch.

Timely rains and a warm September helped produce a plentiful pumpkin crop in Iowa this year.

Today  is recognized as National Pumpkin Day. Pumpkin production in Iowa has nearly tripled in the last three decades to over 900 acres, according to the state agriculture department. Geralyn Hoefling and her husband, Al, started a pumpkin patch two decades ago in northwest Iowa’s Cherokee County.

“I wanted a place for kids to come pick their own pumpkin, so they can learn how pumpkins grow rather than just going to the store and buying a pumpkin,” Hoefling said. “I wanted them to see how they grow on the vine.” Geralyn Hoefling is a retired preschool teacher. Hoefling’s Pumpkin Patch is located a few miles south of Marcus.

“We have over 25 varieties of pumpkins and over 60 different varieties of gourds,” Hoefling said. “We grow wheat and broomcorn. We also put cornstalks and straw bales together…the things that you would use for your Halloween decorations.” A list of pumpkin patches around the state can be found on the Iowa Department of Agriculture’s.

 (Thanks Dennis Morrice, KLEM, Le Mars)