The Great Pumpkin sighted in Milton, West Virginia

The Great Pumpkin needs better publicity and Rivervine Professional Writing Services is here to help.

Photo by Gwen Clayton.

In the 1966 TV movie, “It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown” Charles M. Schultz’ Peanuts gang celebrates Halloween while Linus waits for the Great Pumpkin.

According to Linus, on Halloween night, the Great Pumpkin rises out of the one pumpkin patch that he thinks is the most sincere and brings presents to all the good little children. Linus also claims the reason he’s the only one to know about the Great Pumpkin is because Santa Claus gets better publicity.

Well, I, Gwen Alyce Clayton, am here to resolve that problem.

When I’m not writing paranormal fiction, I have a day job as a professional business writer. I do blog posts, newspaper articles, press releases, and any other content needed to promote goods and services for small businesses, nonprofit organizations, and government entities. This year, I am working pro-bono as the Great Pumpkin’s publicist.

Our first step was to find the most sincere pumpkin patch in our area. There are lots of pumpkin patches in our part of Appalachia, but my husband Eddie and I went on a rainy Sunday and many of them had closed, due to either the inclement weather or they just weren’t open on Sundays.

Photo by Gwen Clayton.

We found one place that was open — Stoll Farm, in Milton, West Virginia, which was about 45 minutes from our home in Ashland, Kentucky. As luck would have it, we had the whole place to ourselves.

We looked around the farm store and talked with owners Blaine and Kim Stoll. They seemed like are really sincere couple.

According to, “sincerity” is defined as “freedom from deceit, hypocrisy, or duplicity; honesty in intention or in communicating; earnestness.”

Porcelain Dolls is a variety of pumpkin sold at Stoll Farm. Photo by Gwen Clayton.

The store sells more than 60 varieties of pumpkins and gourds, including the traditional big, round orange kind, as well as unusual varieties such as One Too Many, Porcelain Dolls, and these cute little star-shaped gourds called Gizmo.

Flower arrangements. Photo by Gwen Clayton.

They also have beautiful fresh cut flower arrangements, pots of mums ready to plant in your fall garden, and lots of harvest-themed home décor. If you need a pumpkin carving kit, they have those too. Nothing but sincerity as far as the eye could see.

Tractor rides at Stoll Farm. Photo by Gwen Clayton.

For five dollars a person, we were able to take a wagon ride to the U-pick pumpkin patch across the pond and around the field. I was happy to see the wagon had a lift for wheelchairs, although I personally didn’t need it because the rails for the steps were sturdy enough that my wobbly legs were able to climb them just fine. The wagon seats 20 people.

The ride provided a nice little tour of the grounds that were enveloped by the gorgeous Appalachian mountains where the trees were just starting to change color.

Blaine Stoll talks about the pumpkin patch at Stoll Farm in Milton, West Virginia. Photo by Gwen Clayton.

When we got to the pumpkin patch, owner Blaine Stoll talked to me about his farm’s operations.

“We used to take pumpkins to the farmers market,” he said, “but it’s kind of difficult to pack up a bunch of pumpkins and take them to the farmers market. So we decided to start letting people come to the farm three years ago and that’s been going great. We really enjoy it. We really like seeing all the kids come out and have fun picking the pumpkins.”

One thing the Stolls did differently this year was separate the pumpkin patch.

 “The amount of weeds you get in the patch is representative of how much rain you have,” he said. “We had so much rain for the two months of growth (June and July). Once the pumpkins start to grow sideways — they vine out — you can’t get in the patch with the tractors to weed anymore, otherwise you’ll damage the pumpkin plants. We had so much rain and it got so weedy that we made a weedy side and a clean side, so people can take their pick. A lot of people love going through the weeds and hunting for their pumpkin, and some people — especially with little kids — like to do the clean side. It’s worked out well.”

Once Eddie and I found the one we wanted — what we thought was the most sincere pumpkin — we hopped on the wagon and Blain took us back to the store.

Photo by Gwen Clayton.

We went home with our prized orange squash and a Gizmo gourd. The Great Pumpkin would be proud.

The Stoll Farm U-pick Pumpkin Patch is open from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays from the last weekend of September through the third weekend of October. They are located at 196 Valley View Drive in Milton, West Virginia. Guests are advised to wear fall attire, tough shoes or boots, and bug spray.

As for the Great Pumpkin, he wants to know what your favorite Halloween candy is. Leave a comment on this post with your answer. I vote for Reese’s. Eddie is a Snickers man.

If you need help promoting your business, nonprofit organization or government entity, message me via LinkedIn so we can get a conversation started about your publicity needs.

Published by Gwen Clayton

Gwen Clayton is a freelance writer living in Ashland, Kentucky. She is the former editor of the Greater Fort Wayne Business Weekly, and has written for numerous other publications since 1986. Her first book, the paranormal thriller "Fermata Cellars," was published in 2016, and her Bible-inspired short story, "Purr: A story of love, lions and a Hebrew named Daniel," was released in 2019. She recently finished writing, "Zinfandel’s Grimoire," which is the sequel to 'Fermata;' that book is in the editing and design phase of publication. Her current works in progress include the third book in the Rivervine Trilogy, tentatively titled, "Comatis Unveiled," and the nonfiction, "Dragon's Poker Table: A rocker chick's breast cancer journey." Her books are independently published under the imprint, Rivervine LLC. In addition to writing books, Clayton contracts as a copywriter for local, small businesses.

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