Pumpkin picking isn't just choosing a pumpkin worthy of elaborate jack-o-lantern carving.
It's about the experience: The hayride, the baked goods, the baby goats. Some hot apple cider, freshly-sugared kettle corn or a doughnut. Experiencing a slice of nature, while double-fisting a cinnamon-coated piece of dough and a rather heavy orange gourd.
The u-pick pumpkin farms listed in this guide offer the basics: pumpkins in a field. Many have more than that, too. Expect hayrides and pony rides and cow milking and more activities than you can do in one day. In a region that experiences all four seasons, we go big for each.
Enjoy the patches while you can; they all pretty much close up shop after Halloween.
9270 Wolcott Road, Clarence Center
Set back on a quiet road in Clarence, the Kelkenberg family curates a complete autumn experience at their farm. A tour doesn't just allow visitors to feed 50 cents worth of feed to a goat and pet a horse if they're lucky, guests can also milk a goat, pet fluffy angora rabbits up close and uncaged, brush a pony, pet calves, glimpse at a beehive.
With $13 admission (children under 2 are free), guests receive a horse-drawn hayride to the pumpkin patch, a pumpkin, pony rides for children, a farm tour and access to a straw maze.
For food, the small farm market sells fresh, hot apple cider and just-baked goods, as well as gourds, cornstalks, apples and pumpkins.
9270 Lapp Road, Clarence Center
Lots of Instagram photo opportunities await you at Greg's. A giant jack-o-lantern sculpture protrudes from the ground just waiting for a camera to capture it. Pumpkins lay in the foreground and a horizon of yellow, red, brown and green trees paint the background.
Hayrides transport you to the field where, you know the drill, you choose the great pumpkin. Cider, popcorn and baked goods serve as fuel for the strenuous task of pumpkin picking.
U-pick opens Sept. 30.
11199 Main St., Clarence
Earning a spot on many national lists as one of the best pumpkin patches in the country, it's no surprise there's a lot to do at the Great Pumpkin Farm. During festival weekends, you could easily spend an entire day getting lost in a corn maze or shooting paintballs or slinging pumpkins with a slingshot.
Among those activities, there's a haunted barn, gem panning, petting zoo, crafts, face painting, a playground and pumpkins everywhere you turn. There's even a bar and restaurant serving wraps, paninis, soups and chilis, as well as draft beer and specialty Halloween drinks.
Each weekend has a unique theme, all boasting different contests and activities. Before choosing a weekend, check to see if you would prefer to witness the annual pumpkin drop or hit up amusement park rides or eat at the barbecue cook-off called "Oinktoberfest."
Admission is free on weekdays and $8 per person each weekend. Children 2 and under are free. Admission gets you a lot (hayride, face painting, magic show), but not quite everything. You receive $1 off coupons for the corn maze, "Boo Barn," gem panning, zombie train, slingshots and more.
[Related: Smiles at Oinktoberfest in 2016]
6920 Nash Road, North Tonawanda
Aside from pumpkins, of which there are many, Wheatfield Pumpkin Farm also has a hayride, petting zoo and bounce house, while the sun is out. There is no admission fee, but a $6 per person charge for access to the hayride and corn maze.
Once the sun goes down, the farm offers a different kind of fall-related fun, in the form of a scary haunted hayride. Children 16 and under need to be accompanied by an adult. Tickets are $9 for adults and $7 for children. It's cash only.
4844 Sugartown Road, Great Valley
Ever want to ride a helicopter above a pumpkin patch? You could do that at Pumpkinville for $40.
Kids can jump off their energy on a rainbow jump pillow. Watch goats run up and down a lopsided, three-story goat house that looks like it's straight out of a Dr. Seuss book. A hayride, maze and trains are among some of the other activities that fill a long list. And there's pumpkin picking.
They might even have more pumpkin-flavored foods than Target, with homemade pumpkin pie, ice cream, fudge, doughnuts and even pumpkin soup, as well as candy apples, apple cider and kettle corn. On weekends, they have a chicken barbecue, and the Pumpkinville Grill regularly serves up foods like beef on weck and hot dogs.
Tickets range from $3.5o for a single event to $21 for a (mostly) all-access day pass. Prices vary slightly between weekdays and weekends.
2195 Shirley Road, North Collins
Perhaps, lately, you've been frowning at your front porch, newly adorned with mums, and thinking, "It's missing something. It's missing a giant, 100-pound pumpkin." Or, maybe you haven't, but someone has, because that's one of Awald Farms' specialties.
The four-generation family farm has a "huge selection" of giant pumpkins, along with gourds, regular pumpkins, crafts, mums and homemade baked goods. If just for the photo alone, it's worth seeing a giant gourd.
12607 Stage Road, Akron
Akron Acres opens its pumpkin patch for the season Sept. 29. For $12 admission, guests ride an antique tractor-pulled hayride to a field of pumpkins, then select their favorite and take it home. For an additional $1, children can ride a pony. For an additional $5, check out the 5-acre corn maze while trying hard not to get lost.
At the farm market, fresh kettle corn is popped each weekend. Plus, you can purchase all kinds of gourds, mums, apples, pumpkins and cider.
2100 Youngstown Lockport Road, Ransomville
For a good old-fashioned hayride, a few bounce houses, a corn maze, face paint and being able to walk away with a few pumpkins, Baker Farm offers a no-frills experience. Free of amusement park rides and other things along those lines, Baker Farm focuses on the essentials.
Story topics: Akron Acres/ Awald Farms/ Baker Farm and U-Pick/ Great Pumpkin Farm/ Gregs U-Pick Farm/ Instagram/ Kelkenberg Farm of Akron/ pumpkin picking/ Pumpkinville/ things to do/ Wheatfield Pumpkin Farm/ Your Guide to WNY