Pumpkin patch shows off strong growing season (5 images)

Eckert's Country Store and Farm in Belleville, Ill., is among the pumpkin patches around the country greeting fall and the runup to Halloween. Coming off a strong growing summer, the farmers at Eckert's report a large crop yield featuring pumpkins up to 80 pounds.

Illinois tops the list as the largest producer of pumpkins in the country followed by California. In 2015, Illinois produced 318 million pounds of pumpkin, almost double what California produced that same year.

The Eckert family operates several farms in Illinois and across America.

Halloween spending is at a record high this year at $9.1 billion.
Updated: Oct. 19, 2017 at 11:56 AM
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Two-year-old Noah James Hensel tries to upright a heavy pumpkin on Wednesday. Eckert's farm grows a variety of crops and plants from apples to Christmas trees but pumpkins are a fall favorite. Photo by Bill Greenblatt/UPI
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The blossoming Eckert family farm had humble beginnings. Johann Peter Eckert immigrated from Germany to Pittsburgh in 1837 and pursued farming, a skill that was passed down to his son Michael who grew up to start his own farm in Fayetteville, Ill. The family continued the farming legacy and now have a total of nine stores and farms across the country. Photo by Bill Greenblatt/UPI
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Almost half of America's pumpkin crop comes from just six states: California, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Michigan, New York and Illinois. Photo by Bill Greenblatt/UPI
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Customer Dan Stewart tries to lift a heavy pumpkin from the pile. Farm owners here say hundreds of pumpkins are up to 80 pounds this season. Photo by Bill Greenblatt/UPI
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David Peters traveled from Desoto, Mo., to select his pumpkin from Eckert's farm. Illinois produces the most pumpkin crop per pound in the country. Photo by Bill Greenblatt/UPI
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