Local pumpkin patch: Montz’s pumpkins

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Local pumpkin patch: Montz’s pumpkins

Emma Seely, Managing Editor

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Just a few miles past the airport lies an unexpected fall adventure: the Montz Pumpkin Patch. Seemingly in the middle of nowhere, the rural, riverside town of Montz, Louisiana is the home to the unassuming patch housed on owner Timmy Perilloux’s and wife Linda’s farmland. Even though Louisiana is hardly the typical pumpkin territory, Perilloux has made the most of his land and resources to create a traditional fall experience for all his customers. 

 

As visitors go up the driveway past Perilloux’s house, they are greeted by a grass parking lot and a simple shed housing various farm equipment and tractors. Once tickets are purchased, for $7 cash only, Perilloux loads up one of his many tractor wagons with guests. He transports them out to a field so wide and long that visitors might easily forget they’re only about 40 minutes outside of the city. 

 

Today, Perilloux’s patch has grown into a thriving business, with weekend wagon trips frequently filled up. However, Perilloux didn’t begin farming to create a heavily trafficked patch. Instead, the patch started on his land by accident, 35 years ago.

 

“There was a school teacher who asked me one day in October if she could bring her Brownie Troop to my pumpkin patch,” Perilloux says. “Well, I had about an acre of pumpkins planted. And I was just able to sell them on Saturday or on the highway. They drove up and I had just one little wagon. I kind of suggested ‘Hey, y’all can ride back [from the fields] in that little wagon’. And that really caught on. Next year the word got around again to come back and I was more prepared.” 

 

As word continued to get around, Perilloux’s operation grew. As more people, especially school groups, made the trip to his farm and then told their friends to come as well, Perilloux expanded his operations and offerings slightly to create a standardized pumpkin picking experience.  

 

“About two years after that [first appointment] I had to start building bigger wagons,” he says. “That was to keep up with having more and more appointments. I definitely had to have appointments written down to remind me. I built washing troughs to wash the pumpkins, that’s part of the fun. It just grew from there.” 

 

Visitors to Perilloux’s farm are brought in a stand-up tractor cart to the pumpkin field, the first in a long line of land offering crops such as purple cauliflower and sunflowers. As visitors select their pumpkins, Perilloux waits patiently on his tractor to take them back to the shed. After a return ride that involves a path around the entire perimeter of the property, visitors are encouraged to drop their pumpkins in the water trough and clean them off with provided brushes. Although one pumpkin is included in the trip price, visitors can buy extra for $4 each. Other than that, there are no additional pumpkin-based products for purchase. 

 

This differs from a traditional pumpkin patch, where visitors can buy a variety of fall products, such as pumpkin pies or apple cider. But Perilloux’s patch has always been about simplicity over flash. Even today, guests are required to call ahead to make an appointment on weekdays, so that Perilloux, the patch’s only employee, knows to come in from the field. There is no website or email address in which the farm can be reached. 

 

Even though by Perilloux’s admission, the traditional, often Northern, pumpkin patches are “much nicer,” the Montz Pumpkin Patch offers a unique experience for New Orleans residents. 

 

“Most of the New Orleans pumpkin patches are parking lot pumpkin patches,” he says. “They buy pumpkins and put them in a pile on the street where you walk up and grab your pumpkin. I never did want to do that, you know. Always in the field, get a wagon ride out to the field and we’ll pick your pumpkin.”

 

Though the Montz Pumpkin Patch caters to pumpkin enthusiasts of all ages, its main customers have always been school-aged children, much like the ones who made the first appointment and spread the word to their friends. This, Perilloux believes, has something to do with the timeless magic of pumpkins. Quoting a pumpkin patch visitor, an elementary school principal, Perilloux says, “There’s something about pumpkins that is magical to children with the stories, Cinderella and so on. Something magical about pumpkins that the children are really attached to.”

 

Perilloux’s pumpkin patch is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. every day, with only weekdays requiring a prior appointment. To make an appointment, guests can call Perilloux at 985-652-3672. For more information, visitors can also visit the path’s Facebook page. 

 

“This [pumpkin patch] here is the only one that I’m aware of [in New Orleans],” Perilloux says. ”I tried all these years to make it as real as possible.” 

 

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