Original story by Pia Amberger
October is Halloween time, and the season to go trick or treating with your friends and family, visit haunted houses, watch scary movies, attempt to eat your own body weight in Halloween candy, and naturally carve your own jack-o’-lantern.
You can see the bright orange pumpkins (Kürbisse) with artfully painted or carved faces everywhere this time of the year: In front of doors and windows, in the garden or in the houses as table decorations.
But did you know that these quite tasty canvases are often waiting for you at the side of the road in Germany? You do not always need to go to a store to buy them. So-called “pick-your-own fields” are located along many of the major roads. On these fields you can choose your own pumpkin from a whole variety of pumpkins in different sizes and colors. There are pumpkins for tasty soups or pies, a plethora of ornamental pumpkins for the decoration of one’s home, and most importantly, large orange pumpkins perfect for carving a spooky jack-o’-lantern.
The concept behind these fields is simple: people go onto the fields, pick the pumpkins they want and then pay the corresponding price in cash as indicated on a price list at the checkout point into a locked box. It is based on a trust system and relies on the honesty of people, as there are no workers to check if someone paid the correct price.
One such field is located on the way to the main access point of Katterbach Kaserne. The different types of pumpkins are stacked on pallets and prices go from €1 for three small ornamental pumpkins to €3-5 for soup pumpkins, and up to €7 for one of the large orange pumpkins.
During spring and summer you will find colorful fields covered in different types of flowers like daffodils, gladiolas, tulips, sunflowers, dahlias and lilies. Most often these fields can be identified by large signs. “Blumen selbst schneiden” means “Cut your own flowers”.
Once again, you can choose the flowers you want, cut them and then pay the correct price as indicated on the checkout sign. The prices usually vary from €0.40 – 1.50 per flower depending on the type of flower you buy. Often, the owner of the field has some flower knives available at the checkout point so you do not need to worry about bringing your own. While the flowers might be a bit more expensive than the ones you can buy in a store, they are actually fresher and will last longer if you cut them yourself. Most fields also post helpful tips on how to cut and handle the flowers.
Once the fruit season starts in summer, similar fields will invite you to pick your own strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, gooseberries, and other types of seasonal fruits.