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Pumpkin patches work around drought

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Updated: 10/07/2012 3:54 pm
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- It might not feel like it, but fall is here! Many of us, particularly local farmers, are switching gears to make way for autumn. This year's wacky weather is firing some holiday vendors to work harder to make this fall as festive as the others.

Many are having to buy from out of the area. One patch owner we spoke with said instead of the drought, extreme flooding is forcing them to buy instead of grow their own this year. But regardless, people are still getting into the Halloween season.

From the small ones.  "We have little miniature ones that we call spookies or minis," says Mike Overton at Mandarin United Methodist Church Pumpkin Patch.  To the big ones.  "We have the super large ones. That are actually larger this year than I've seen in the past years," says Heritage Pumpkin Patch Owner Wyatt Green.

Pumpkin patches are setting up all over Duval County. "Every year, we've been here for 20 plus years and it's just packed every year and that's why we keep doing it," says Overton.

Pumpkin patch groups like the Mandarin United Methodist Church and Heritage Fencing are pulling out all the stops for this Halloween season. "We do about 2,000 a year and we usually sell right at about 2,000 a year," says Green.

Wyatt Green says his pumpkin patch offers something unique for Orange Park pumpkin pickers. "I think it's going to do very well as far as tracking the kids. It's not really outside, its a little cooler in here. You can do it rain or shine," he says.

The Mandarin United Methodist Church group offers all the favorites, from an outdoor pumpkin garden to a holiday picture backdrop. The money they raise from selling the thousands of pumpkins goes back into the community. "It's really fun and it helps our church and our youth group and we get to go on trips with all the money we raise," says church member Nicki Ransing.

And luckily, both of these patches weren't affected by the drought.
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