Autumn is upon us. Think sweater weather, pumpkin spice lattes, Gilmore Girls, rainy days and, of course, Halloween. Yet as Halloween dominates the season, so too does its cultural counterpart: pumpkins.
In Exeter, pumpkin picking season is booming. Between picking and carving pumpkins, my social media feed has certainly been flooded with aesthetic posts. Indeed, I can say that the pumpkin craze put me in a pumpkin picking mood too. My favourite has definitely been this massive Taylor Swift pumpkin.
All of this, however, takes months of behind-the-scenes work. The seasonal business takes around six months of planning for a successful pumpkin patch to reach this stage. However, with the booming profits from pumpkins — plus refreshments, ticket prices and extras — it all proves to be worth it.
In Wales, the Vale of Glamorgan grows 100,000 pumpkins of many different kinds. There, at least five farms offer pumpkin picking — all within eight miles. This meets up to the huge demand which, as The Farmers’ Union of Wales puts it, could bring farming closer to people. One farm in the Vale, Forage Farm, had ticket sales up 40% this year with it being their third consecutive year offering the event. With pumpkin picker numbers reaching 4000, the farm credits social media but also returning customers in its popularity as picking your own becomes tradition again.
One farm in the Vale, Forage Farm, had ticket sales up 40% this year with it being their third consecutive year offering the event
Closer to home, in Exeter, The Jolly Pumpkin in Silverton offers a similar experience. Offering over 50 varieties of pumpkin and refreshments in their café, it’s not difficult to see how the farm can make a profit over October. In fact, this pumpkin patch offers plenty of social-media-worthy photo opportunities throughout the experience. The farm itself also has an Instagram page. It’s therefore not hard to see how social media has helped this local business. Similarly, quoting to have ‘countless Instagrammable moments’, Pennywell Farm promotes its pumpkin patch through its 20k Instagram followers. Looking at some of its cosy posts, it definitely lives up to the autumn feel this Halloween.
This October trend is not alone in benefitting from social media. For example, think fashion trends: social media has revived decades or popularised thrifting. Or the TikTok trend earlier this year involving the movie ‘Minions: Rise of Gru’, which profited over $125 million (£101 million) during its opening weekend alone. One thing that’s certain is that social media has an increasing influence which local economies — such as pumpkin farms — can benefit from. So as we prepare for colder weather and darker days, look back at the Taylor Swift pumpkin and remember to enjoy this autumn craze (and, of course, Taylor Swift).