BELLEVILLE, Ill. – A crowd picked up a fall bounty at Eckert’s Farm in Belleville, Illinois, as the first frost of the season threatens summer plants and produce this weekend.
Tractors are filled with people eager to pick out the perfect pumpkin.
“We’ve never seen a pumpkin patch this big!” said Jake Nagel, an Eckert’s Farm visitor.
“It’s really big,” said Sydney, Nagel’s sister.
Nagel’s family scooped up several pumpkins and bags of apples to take home.
“We just love fall activities like apple picking, pumpkin picking, and it’s just perfect weather,” said Jen Suscko, an Eckert’s Farm visitor.
Another visitor said it was their family’s first time coming to the farm.
“Since this is their first time, I think they’re looking for something they can carve,” said Meagen Crombie. “However, I’m looking for more decorative pumpkins for the front porch.”
There are a lot of pumpkins and fall produce to pick from, but you better move fast because the cold weather is moving in.
“Just mother nature of doing her job of putting plants to sleep for the weather,” said Chris Eckert, president of Eckert’s Inc.
The recent mild weather will take a sharp turn into the 30s Friday night, the first frost of the season.
“These guys are pretty tough, they can take cold weather,” Chris said. “It’s not going to damage a pumpkin, but it will damage the foliage in the pumpkin patch.”
Chris said there are ways to protect produce nearing the end of its season, like apples, tomatoes, and summer plants.
“You can protect those just by putting a blanket over them, a little light cover, and you don’t want to leave on there all day tomorrow,” he said. “You want to pull it off, so you don’t want to smother the plant. They want sunshine.”