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Children of the corn: Awald’s U-Pick of North Collins offers customers pumpkins and haunted ‘maize’

NEED A PUMPKIN? — Tableaus of pumpkin, squash and other autumnal accessories are scattered around the grounds. Photos by Lizz Schumer.
NORTH COLLINS — Pumpkins can be spotted on porches throughout the area this time of year, but at Awald’s U-Pick Pumpkin Farm, kids can see where those pumpkins came from before they squatted on the front stoop. Wes Awald and his wife Jamie carry more than 25 types of pumpkins and squash, run a corn maze, a picnic shack, craft shop and more at their farm, located at 2195 Shirley Road, North Collins.

“Kids get a kick out of it,” Wes Awald said, of the “U-pick” option. “We give people some clippers and a wagon and send them out in the field, to pick what they like. It all depends on [personal taste]. Some people like long stems [and] others like shorter ones. There are different colors. There’s no right or wrong; it’s all up to the person. Kids like to see where pumpkins come from.”

TAKE YOUR PICK — Many varieties of pumpkins are available for purchase, some in the field and some ready-picked.
The Awalds have been opening their farm to visitors for the past 13 years and Awald said that they have many options for people to enjoy, as part of their fall celebrations. The farm store stocks a variety of homemade goods, from wind chimes to chotchkes and everything in between.

“She starts pretty much right after the last season ends,” said Awald, of the many crafts his wife creates and sells.

TAKE A LOAD OFF — The snack shack area at Awald’s has snacks for sale, or customers can bring their own picnic lunches.
In addition, a picnic area offers visitors a chance to sit down and take in the rural scenery and a hay bale maze lets younger visitors in on the fun.

“People come, bring a picnic and make a whole day of it,” Awald explained. “We also have snacks and things for sale.”

The largest feature on the premises is a five-acre corn maze that Awald said he cuts himself. Some farmers use a GPS system and hire companies to come in to create the designs, but Awald said he prefers to do it “the old-fashioned way.”

A-MAIZE-ING — The corn maze is also open daily, but the haunted version only appears on weekends.
During the day, the corn maze is a quiet way to enjoy the autumn weather, according to Awald. On weekend nights, however, the “maize of terror” haunted corn maze offers braver souls a chance for some Halloween frights.

“We hire people to ‘haunt’ it,” Awald said. “[Our haunters are] mostly local high school kids. They really have a blast.”

COME ON IN — The Awald farm is open every day, until 6 p.m., for pumpkin-pickers.
The premises are open for business every day from 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. until Halloween is over, and Awald said a family member is always on the grounds to accept customers.

“It’s a busy time,” he said. “But we enjoy it, and it’s only a couple months out of the year.”

The haunted corn maze scares customers from 8 – 11 p.m. on Friday and Saturday nights. For more information, call 337-2608.


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