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Almost pumpkin patch season

Whether you are buying one to make a scary jack-o-lantern or purchasing one to produce the perfect pumpkin pie, it won’t be long until you see pumpkins popping up all over Oxford.

One of Oxford’s most popular places to purchase pumpkins is at Saint Peter’s Episcopal Church at 113 S. 9th St.

Janet McCord, parish administrator, said pumpkins will promptly arrive at the church Sunday, Oct. 4.

“We usually get a tractor-trailer load of pumpkins, and the church gets together and unloads them,” she said. “We have everything from the mini-pumpkins to the great big pumpkins.”

McCord said the pumpkins are purchased from a charity that benefits a Native American reservation in Arizona.

“They raise the pumpkins and send them to us,” she said. “We sell them and give them a certain amount of money. Then we keep a certain amount.”

The church is a popular site for school groups, who come to take pictures and purchase pumpkins.

“We schedule nursery schools and day cares, and even some school groups from Oxford and Bramlett send little kids to pick out pumpkins,” McCord said.

Small pumpkins are usually $1. Best-sellers are $5 and $10.

“Sometimes, we have some of the mini-minis, and they are 50 cents,” she said. We’ve had a few giant size pumpkins. We do have some that are 50 to 100 pounds.”

McCord said the church has sold pumpkins for about 20 years.

“It’s always been a charity event,” she said. “It’s the fundraiser for our youth. It helps a lot of people. We always put it in a reserve account, and they spend it as needed for the activities they are doing.”

Anyone can come by the church to purchase a pumpkin or take pictures with pumpkins.

“We put out a sign with the hours on it, and everyone can come out at any time and pick out pumpkins,” said McCord.

There is no fee for having your picture made with the pumpkins.

The Barn Trading Company, at 2657 West Oxford Loop in Oxford, will also be selling pumpkins.

Owner Brittany Barnes said a number of people come to the store to pick out a pumpkin.

“We don’t do just the traditional orange pumpkins,” she said. “We do the novelty pumpkins. They are unique pumpkins because they are of a different style. They are not just orange colors. Some of them are white, pink. We also do the decorative gourds.”

Barnes said their “pumpkin patch” is set up inside the store.

“We have them lined up on tables, and we have a wooden sign that says ‘Welcome to the pumpkin patch,’” she said. “We have them organized in different sizes.”

Little children buy “baby boo” pumpkins.

Prices range from $1 to $24.

Oxford and Lafayette County residents searching for the perfect pumpkin can also keep watch at area farmers markets this fall.

About LaReeca Rucker

LaReeca Rucker is a writer, reporter and adjunct journalism instructor at the University of Mississippi's Meek School of Journalism and New Media.

A veteran journalist with more than 20 years of experience, she spent a decade at the Gannett-owned Clarion-Ledger - Mississippi's largest daily newspaper - covering stories about crime, city government, civil rights, social justice, religion, art, culture and entertainment for the paper's print and web editions. She was also a USA Today contributor.

This year, she received a first place award from the Mississippi Press Association for “Best In-Depth Investigative Reporting.” The story written in 2014 for The Oxford Eagle chronicles the life of a young mother with two sons who have epilepsy, and details how she is patiently hoping legalized cannabis oil experimentation will lead to a cure for their disorder.

Her website is www.lareecarucker.com.

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