Farmer, 20, who started growing the fruits when he was just 13 now sells 25,000 each autumn 

James Maxey started growing pumpkins on his family farm at the age of 13. Now, at 20 years old, he has one of the biggest 'pick your own’ pumpkin patches in the country

James Maxey started growing pumpkins on his family farm at the age of 13. Now, at 20 years old, he has one of the biggest 'pick your own’ pumpkin patches in the country

James Maxey started growing pumpkins on his family farm at the age of 13. Now, at 20 years old, he has one of the biggest ‘pick your own’ pumpkin patches in the country

James Maxey was just 13 when he started growing pumpkins on his family farm to sell to his friends for a bit of extra pocket money.

Seven years on, his ‘pick your own’ pumpkin patch is one of the biggest in the country, and now sells 25,000 of them each autumn.

It attracts more than 100,000 visitors in October and is now a big part of his family’s farming business. 

Mr Maxey started off with just 200 pumpkins on half an acre. The family now produce 20 different varieties of different shapes, sizes and colour – including one called a ‘warty goblin’ which has lumps all over it.

They cover almost six acres on their farm in Kirklington, Nottinghamshire.

Mr Maxey, now 20, said: ‘I started when I was 13 next to the farm shop with a little half-an-acre field with about 200 pumpkins in it which I sold to my school friends.

‘Every year I planted more and more and now I’ve about five or six acres.’

The success of his pumpkin empire led him to leave school at 16 to run the business full-time.

Mr Maxey started selling pumpkins for pocket money. He said: ‘I started when I was 13 next to the farm shop with a little half-an-acre field with about 200 pumpkins in it which I sold to my school friends'

Mr Maxey started selling pumpkins for pocket money. He said: ‘I started when I was 13 next to the farm shop with a little half-an-acre field with about 200 pumpkins in it which I sold to my school friends'

Mr Maxey started selling pumpkins for pocket money. He said: ‘I started when I was 13 next to the farm shop with a little half-an-acre field with about 200 pumpkins in it which I sold to my school friends’

‘I have always wanted to be out and could never sit in a classroom or anything,’ he said. ‘I have always got to be out doing something.’

Photographs taken from above by a drone have captured the scale of the huge operation.

Mr Maxey said: ‘We grow around 25,000 pumpkins, which includes 20 different varieties. They are all different shapes, sizes, colours so it’s grown massively.

‘It takes about week to plant them in the field but about six months to wait for them to grow.

‘We’ve done this for seven years and we’ve struggled to keep up with demand. It’s a very busy time for us and we’ve delighted with how it’s grown.’

The pumpkins now cover almost six acres on his parents' farm in Kirklington, Nottinghamshire, and he sells 25,000 of them each autumn

The pumpkins now cover almost six acres on his parents' farm in Kirklington, Nottinghamshire, and he sells 25,000 of them each autumn

The pumpkins now cover almost six acres on his parents’ farm in Kirklington, Nottinghamshire, and he sells 25,000 of them each autumn

Mr Maxey runs the pumpkin business from the farm owned by his parents Keith, 50, and Katherine, 47.

He employs 35 staff to run the seasonal business, which is open from 9am until 5pm, seven days-a-week up to Halloween.

The price of the pumpkins ranges from £2 for smaller ones to £10 for the largest.

But despite being surrounded by pumpkins, Mr Maxey is not a fan of their taste.

He said: ‘I roasted one last year because I thought I should at least try eating one but I wasn’t keen.

Mr Maxey employs 35 staff to run the seasonal business, which is open from 9am until 5pm, seven days-a-week up to Halloween

Mr Maxey employs 35 staff to run the seasonal business, which is open from 9am until 5pm, seven days-a-week up to Halloween

Mr Maxey employs 35 staff to run the seasonal business, which is open from 9am until 5pm, seven days-a-week up to Halloween

The price of the pumpkins ranges from £2 for smaller ones to £10 for the largest. But despite being surrounded by pumpkins, Mr Maxey is not a fan of their taste

The price of the pumpkins ranges from £2 for smaller ones to £10 for the largest. But despite being surrounded by pumpkins, Mr Maxey is not a fan of their taste

The price of the pumpkins ranges from £2 for smaller ones to £10 for the largest. But despite being surrounded by pumpkins, Mr Maxey is not a fan of their taste

‘I think most people buy them to decorate at Halloween but we supply a number of restaurants and shops so obviously people do enjoy their taste.’

Mr Maxey buys thousands of pumpkin seeds from a supplier in Lincolnshire which he plants in the fields in the Spring with a converted planter attached to a tractor.

‘Every year we grow more and more pumpkins to keep up with the demand because in previous years we have run out before Halloween but last year and this year we have grown a lot more to take us through to the 31st,’ he said.

‘Any pumpkins which are left over get chopped up and ploughed back into the soil so nothing is wasted.

Mr Maxey buys thousands of pumpkin seeds from a supplier in Lincolnshire which he plants in the fields in the Spring with a converted planter attached to a tractor

Mr Maxey buys thousands of pumpkin seeds from a supplier in Lincolnshire which he plants in the fields in the Spring with a converted planter attached to a tractor

Mr Maxey buys thousands of pumpkin seeds from a supplier in Lincolnshire which he plants in the fields in the Spring with a converted planter attached to a tractor

‘The soil around this area has quite a lot of clay in it which I think helps our pumpkins maintain their deep dark orange colour.

‘In supermarkets pumpkins tend to be quite light and almost yellow but ours have a nice dark colour to them which people like.’ 

Pumpkins have become synonymous with Halloween, with parents and children enjoying cutting out faces to make spooky lamps.

Figures show sales have jumped by nearly a third since last year.

Households have already spent £1.5 million on squashes in the build-up to Halloween, 29 per cent up on the same period in 2018, according to researcher Kantar.

Last year, Poundland removed polystyrene pumpkins from sale for Halloween after receiving backlash over plastic pollution.

Pumpkins have become synonymous with Halloween, with parents and children enjoying cutting out faces to make spooky lamps

Pumpkins have become synonymous with Halloween, with parents and children enjoying cutting out faces to make spooky lamps

Pumpkins have become synonymous with Halloween, with parents and children enjoying cutting out faces to make spooky lamps

Link hienalouca.com

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