Texas is one of the top pumpkin-growing states in America.  Who knew!  And a short road trip will get you inside one of the biggest pumpkin farms in the state.

Every state produces pumpkins, but there are six that are the biggest producers, according to vegetablegrowersnews.com.  Besides Texas, the other biggest pumpkin producers are California, Indiana, Michigan, Illinois, and Virginia.

Pumpkin patches and pumpkin farms are two different things because not all patches grow their own pumpkins, and not all farms offer the chance to browse in a patch.  BUT, some do have both, and that includes Preston Trail Farms in Gunter in the southwest corner of Grayson County near Dallas-Fort Worth.  They are a large pumpkin producer that's open for tours, hayrides, a 6-foot hay maze, and a petting farm.

Readers Digest said the best pumpkin patch in Texas is Mainstay Farm in Cleburne.  In addition to the pumpkins, there are sheep races, train rides, a Flying Fox ride, a treehouse, and pumpkin ice cream, plus the Texas Tubin’ Hill, which is a 150-foot Texas-themed inner tube slide.  All that popped up because of pumpkins!  They're still the main attraction, but we are in Texas and we know how to make the most of all things fall.

And we know we have some awesome pumpkin patches around East Texas too, including Calie's Acre in Gilmer and Danville Farms in Kilgore.  All the Methodist churches seem to have rows of pumpkins set up in the green space near their parking lots too, and most of them offer hayrides and photo ops on haystacks.  This is such a fun time of year.

Vegetablegrowersnews.com said dry weather in Texas is leading to high-quality pumpkins this year.  Last year, pumpkins pumped $25.9 million into the economy and that was more than all other states.  Wow!

Now, are you going to use the insides of that awesome pumpkin to make a homemade pumpkin pie?  Oh, you ambitious types amaze me.  For most of us, if the pumpkin doesn't come in a can at the grocery store, we don't know what to do with it.

Whether you carve it, bake it, or take a picture with it, finding the perfect pumpkin is one of fall's great adventures in East Texas.  If you have a favorite farm or patch, let us know.  We've got two weeks left to check it out.

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