Athienou Farms is putting a creative spin on u-pick pumpkins this fall.
The Riverhead farm stand introduced u-pick-and-paint pumpkins last weekend, offering families a chance to brush up on their art skills after hitting the field. The farm sets up tables for parents and kids to take their time decorating to their liking.
“Some kids like to paint faces or paint the whole pumpkin pink, they can do what they’d like to customize it,” said Athienou Farms’ Philip Seas. “No one is rushing them. It is about having fun and being creative.”
Philip’s parents, Philip Sr. and Maria Seas, founded Athienou 30 years ago in East Marion. The farm was located between Shipyard Lane and Gillette Drive before the family relocated the operation to Sound Avenue three years ago. The 86-acre farm grows everything from tomatoes, peppers and eggplant to corn and leafy greens on-site. It also has baby goats and pigs.
It was Philip’s sister, Georgia, who came up with the idea for u-pick-and-paint. A hobby crafter, Georgia often paints pumpkins to sell at the farm stand and thought visitors would enjoy a creative hands-on experience.
“She loves to do arts and crafts so she thought, what better to allow kids to paint at the stand?” Philip said. “It has been well received. People really seem to enjoy it.”
Athienou provides all the painting supplies complimentary with a pumpkin purchase. For those who don’t want to hunt down the perfect pumpkin in the farm’s one-acre u-pick field, several varieties of pre-picked pumpkins are available at the stand to paint.
U-pick-and-paint is not only fun, it’s practical, Maria said.
“Parents love it because they don’t have to decorate with messy paint in their house,” she said with a laugh. “There is no mess so they are excited.”
Athienou Farms, located at 5445 Sound Avenue in Riverhead, is open 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. seven-days a week through Thanksgiving. U-pick-and-paint is offered when the stand is open.