But one of the pumpkin patches mentioned by many of you is still a bit of a well-kept secret. Negangard’s Pumpkin Patch is located in the southeast corner of Champaign County, in rural Sidney.
Owned by Charles Negangard, who has farmed in the area for more than 50 years, the pumpkin patch continues to grow — in size and popularity — every year. The brilliance of his business is its simplicity and its reasonable prices. When we stopped by, there were few people there; Negangard himself was helping customers.
Negangard’s farm sells pumpkins of all shapes, sizes, and colors; gourds; straw bales; cornstalks; squash; and more. The prices are what really sets Negangard apart — I left with a haul of pumpkins for $11. Almost everything costs between 25 cents and $5. Mr. Negangard himself added up our purchase — using pen and paper.
Yes, $11 for about as many pieces. (Bring cash or check; I don’t think they take plastic!)
The Negangard experience is, as I said, simple. You won’t find any of the bells and whistles that are at other local pumpkin patches. There’s no food for sale and there’s no games, rides, or other attractions. There are wagons available for use to pick out your purchases; there’s plenty of variety to choose from.
The pumpkins are the attraction, although Mr. Negangard doesn’t mind if you go over and say hello to his pigs and cattle (but please, don’t pet them!). He spontaneously took us on a special tour, showing us his pheasants and how he can hypnotize them. Trust me, it was a quite a sight!
I spoke with Mr. Negangard and he told me that his pumpkin business continues to grow every year. It is now up to 18 acres of the 900 he farms (the other acreage is devoted to typical local crops – corn and soybeans). He also is open to having field trips from schools, daycares and the like.
Going to the Negangard Pumpkin Patch was a wonderful experience for my children. It is so easy to get stuck in Champaign-Urbana and not recognize the amazing farmland and agricultural community that surrounds us. Just the drive down there — it’s located about 15 miles from Urbana — was a fun experience, as the harvest continues and large machinery is plentiful in the fields.
The site itself is a working farm. It doesn’t exist for pumpkins; pumpkins are just a fun aside.
And fun we had. We rounded out the evening by swinging by the Philo Tavern for dinner, which is just a hop skip and a jump from the farm.
To get to Negangard Pumpkin Patch: Take Route 130 south out of Urbana to Country Road 700N, located about one mile south of Philo. (There is a sign for the patch there). Go east on Road 700 about three miles. The address is 1883 CR 700 North, Sidney (here are Google Map directions if you need them!).