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Winter Squash U-Pick Orchards in Northwestern Illinois in 2024, by county

Below are the U-Pick orchards and farms for winter squash that we know of in this area. Not all areas of any state, nor even every state, have winter squash orchards that are open to the public. If you know of any others, please tell us using the add a farm form!

Remember to always check with the farm's own website or Facebook page before you go - or call or email them if they don't have a website or Facebook page. Conditions at the farms and crops can change literally overnight, so if you want to avoid a wasted trip out there - check with the farm directly before you go! If I cannot reach them, I DON'T GO!

PLEASE report closed farms, broken links and incorrect info using the "Report Corrections" form below.

Henry County

  • Country Corner - corn (sweet), melons, other berries, pumpkins, raspberries, summer squash, winter squash, strawberries, tomatoes, other vegetables, Other fruit or veg, prepicked produce, gift shop, snacks and refreshment stand, restrooms, picnic area, pony rides, petting zoo, farm animals, birthday parties, school tours, events at your location (call for info)
    5333 U. S. highway 150, Alpha, IL 61413. Phone: 309-629-2359. Email: Open: daily late July to October 31st Flashlight Maze by apointment Sept 1st to October 31st Haunted Maze Friday and Saturday 7pm to 11pm in Oct. Directions: Halfway between the Illinois Quad Cities and Galesburg, IL. on U.S. highway 150, two miles North of Alpha, IL. Just twenty minuetes from the Quad City Airport. . Click here for a map and directions. Payment: Cash, Check, Visa, MasterCard, Discover. . Fax: 3096292359. . Crops are usually available in May, June, July, August, September, October. Farm Market Monday to Saturday, 9 am to 7 pm Sunday 10 am to 6 pm May 1st; through October 31st Fall Fun Park open on weekend's starting September 13th through October 31st; 11 am to 7 pm. Strawberries available mid May to mid June U-Pick Vegetables by apointment July to October U-Pick Rasberries mid July to Mid Sept U-Pick Pumpkins Sept 1st to October 31st Corn Maze Open U-Pick Hayrack Rides to the Vegetable Garden, Sweet Corn, Indian Corn, Gourd Patch and Pumpkin Patch New this Fall, Featuring our own Corn Cannon, Cow Train, Mini Corn Shock Maze and Mining For Gems along with Special events every weekend starting September 13th.

Rock Island County

  • Happy Hollow U-Pick - asparagus, beans, beets, blackberries, broad beans, broccoli, carrots, corn (sweet), cucumbers, eggplant (aubergine), flowers, melons, onions, other berries, peas, peppers, pumpkins, raspberries, rhubarb, summer squash, winter squash, strawberries, tomatoes, other vegetables
    17325 - 20th Avenue North, East Moline, IL 61244. Phone: 309-496-1515. Email: Open: May: Asparagus Monday-Saturday from 12:00-5:00; June-July-Sept. Directions: 1 mile north of the Quad City Downs or 1 mile west of the Interstate 80 and 88 interchange. . Click here for a map and directions.
    Happy Hollow U-Pick Facebook page. . May: (Asparagus ) Monday-Saturday from 12:00-5:00; June-July-Sept.: Mon., Tues., Thurs., Fri., from 8:30-5:00, Wednesday 8:30-7:00 and Saturday 8:30-6; Closed Sundays and Holidays; then in October: Mon, Tues., Thurs - Fri 8:30-5, Wed., 8:30-7:00 and Saturday 8:30-6, Sunday 12:00-5; HOURS ARE SUBJECT TO CHANGE AT A DAYS NOTICE; If you arrive at the farm 15 minutes before closing, you will not be allowed to go to the field to pick. Facebook page. Click here for a map to our farm. We are open May, October. Our claim to fame is the number of varieties of Hot Peppers that we grow. We grow about 30 varieties ranging from 0 on the Scovill rating up to 550,000. Our 48 varieties of vegetables are grown for taste and not high production yields. We also raise goats and sheep for meat and or pet sales. Month of October, We have a Haunted Hovel in conjunction with our local Barstow Volunteer Fire Dept. Voted in the Quad Cities to be the best for the last couple of years. Weekend Evenings in October.

Winnebago County

  • Harrison Market Gardens - CERTIFIED ORGANIC, asparagus, beans, beets, blackberries, blueberries, broccoli, carrots, corn (sweet), cucumbers, eggplant, herbs or spices, melons, onions, peppers, raspberries (black), rhubarb, summer squash, winter squash, strawberries, tomatoes, other vegetables, U-pick and already picked, porta-potties are available, picnic area
    9024 Harrison Road, Winnebago, IL 61088. Phone: 815-980-0589. Email: Directions: We are located aboaut 10 miles northwest of Rockford, Illinois. . Click here for a map and directions. Payment: Cash, Check. . Alternate Phone: 618-967-4729. . We are a subscription pick your own and also offer CSA shares; You can choose either a weekly ($475) or bi - weekly ($325) pick that runs from May through October; Once you have had your initial pick/training, your family can come out whenever convenient;; ; any day of the week any time of the day. We are registered naturally grown for all crops.
  • Valley Orchard - apples, beans, blackberries, blueberries, corn (sweet), pumpkins, raspberries (red), raspberries (Spring, red), raspberries (Autumn, red), raspberries (yellow), raspberries (Spring, yellow), raspberries (Autumn, yellow), rhubarb, winter squash, Cider mill (fresh apple cider made on the premises), U-pick and already picked, farm market, gift shop, picnic area, school tours
    911 East State Street, Cherry Valley, IL 61016. Phone: 815-332-9696. Email: Open: See our website for current hours. Directions: . Click here for a map and directions. Payment: Cash, Check, Debit cards, Visa, MasterCard, Discover. . These are some of the apples that we offer; if you do not see your favorite apple listed, please call, we have over 28 varieties. (This is only an estimate of when the apples will be ready, please call for U-Pick availability.) facebook page. Early Season (August ~ September) has Early Gold, Paula Red, Royal Gala, Honeycrisp, McIntosh, Jonamac, Snow Sweet, Haralson, Sept. Wonder Fugi, Wolf River. Mid Season (September ~ October) offers Ozark Gold, Senshu, Cortland, Jonathan, Jonagold, Empire, MaCoun, Red Delicious, Yellow Delicious, Golden Russet, Crimson Crisp, Autumn Blush, Autumn Gala, Ida Red. Late Season (October ~ November) is Shizuka, Blushing Gold, Rome, Fuji, Winesap, Suncrisp, Candy Crisp, Braeburn, New Town Pippin, Cameo, See comments about this farm here! Click here for farms in South and Central Illinois


Choosing a winter squash

Winter squash comes in many sizes, shapes and colors.  Choosing a winter squash that meets your needs and the taste you will like can be tough without a guide!  This page provides you that information, plus nutritional analysis and links to our freezing and canning pages!

Unlike its summer squash, which is best when harvested very young and used right away, winter squash is harvested at a mature age, which makes the outer skin hard and inedible. The skin, however, is protective and increases its storage life. Winter squash can be stored for 3 months or longer if kept in a cool dark place, like a basement or garage.  I've had winter squash last a full year when stored like this!

The yellow and orange flesh of the winter squash is more nutritious and richer in vitamins, especially beta carotene, than summer squash. Winter squash is always served cooked and, because of its tough skin, only the inside flesh is eaten. The flesh, is sweet and great to make pie (pumpkins are a winter squash)


Choose a size based on your cooking needs. There's no difference in flavor based on size of the same variety of a squash.


For a quality squash, choose one that has a smooth, dry rind and is free of cracks or soft spots. Skin that is easily nicked or scraped with a fingernail means that the squash did not reach maturity. Look for rind that has a dull appearance. A shiny rind indicates that is has been picked too early or has a wax coating, which masks the skin. Choose squash that has a deep color and is heavy for its size. It is also best to choose squash with a firm, rounded, dry stem. Squash with no stem permits bacteria to enter.

Cut pieces can be found in the grocery market. Choose pieces that have a good interior color and finely-grained flesh that is not fibrous. Ideal flesh should be barely moist, but not too dry or too watery.

Storing Winter Squash

Winter squash has a long shelf life and can be stored for up to 3 months or longer in a cool, dry place between 55° and 60°F. A higher temperature will shorten storage time, but it will not alter the flavor. Storage temperatures below 50°F (as in a refrigerator) will cause squash to spoil more rapidly. If the squash needs to be refrigerated, it can be stored for 1 to 2 weeks. Cut pieces of squash should be tightly wrapped and refrigerated. Cooked, pureed squash can be frozen for use later as a side dish or to thicken, color, or flavor soups, sauces, or stews.

Varieties of Winter Squash

Here are a few of the most popular winter squash varieties; see this page for a complete master list of winter squash varieties.

Photo of acorn squash Acorn
This acorn-shaped squash is one of the most widely available among the small winter squash. It measures about 6 inches around and weighs 1 to 2 pounds. Baking is an excellent way to bring out the sweet, nutty flavors of this tender fleshed squash.
Photo of banana squash Banana
This squash comes in three varieties: blue, orange, and pink. Among the three varieties, the pink banana is the most common in the United States. It is grown commercially in Florida. This large, thick-skinned cylindrical squash averages 20 inches long and weighs around 12 pounds. It is so large that it is usually sold in chunks instead of whole. Its creamy textured orange flesh offers a fruity and buttery delight to your palate. Although both baking and steaming are great ways to prepare this tasty squash, steaming produces a slightly sweeter, yet mild flavor.
Buttercup squash  Buttercup
This stocky squash is 6 to 8 inches in diameter, averaging 2 to 4 pounds. Its popularity stems from its sweet and creamy orange flesh. Its shortcoming is that it tends to be a bit dry. Baking or steaming can solve this problem; the dry flesh becomes smooth and tastes similar to a mixture of honey, roasted chestnuts, and sweet potato. Even more than baking, steaming softens the flesh and creates a thick puree (Great for pies)
Photo of buttercup squash Butternut
This elongated bell-shaped squash measures about a foot long and weighs an average of 2 to 4 pounds. Its popularity is due to its meaty, yet moderately sweet golden orange flesh. Because of its thin skin, this squash can easily be skinned with a vegetable peeler, which makes it easy to cut and prepare. Baking enhances its sweet, moist, and nutty flavors. Butternut squash is usually available from August through March. There are actually many variations of butternut.  It can be used to make great "pumpkin" pies.
mexican butternut squash My favorite winter squash is one called "Argos Gold", sometimes also simply called "Mexican Butternut" - it is much longer than the usual "Waltham" butternut, often almost 2 feet long and has a much sweeter taste and smoother texture.  I've finally found one supplier, see this page.

I found another winter / butternut-type squash at Gurney's that looks promising .
Photo of hubbard squash Hubbard
This tear-shaped squash comes in several varieties: green (true), golden, blue, and baby blue. It ranges from dark green to orange and weighs from 5 to 50 pounds. Because of its size, Hubbard's popularity has decreased over the years. However, pre-cut portions of green and orange Hubbard can be found in markets. Green Hubbard's are thick, sweet, and dry. Golden Hubbard's; a smaller squash than the green or blue; are fairly sweet, but have a bitter aftertaste.The Blue or gray varietiey make wonder pumpkin pies!
Photo of spaghetti squash Spaghetti
This oval-shaped yellow squash is also called the vegetable spaghetti. It averages 9 inches in length and may weigh 2 to 3 pounds. When cooked, the crisp, tender fhesh falls a apart into spaghetti-like strands that have a mild lightly sweet and fresh taste. Keep in mind that the larger the vegetable, the thicker the strands and the more flavorful the taste. It really is good with spaghetti sauce on the cooked squash "noodles"
Photo of sweet dumpling squash Sweet Dumpling
This solid round squash, formerly known as the vegetable gourd, is a perfect serving for one person. It is about the size of an apple and weighs up to 1 pound. The skin is a warm cream color striped with ivy green, and it changes to butter color and orange during storage. The skin is relatively tender and can be eaten. The pale-yellow flesh is smooth, fine, and dry as a potato and produces a rich starchy, light to mild sweetness, with a slight corn flavor.



Other Local Farm Products (Honey, Horses, Milk, Meat, Eggs, Etc.)
(NOT pick-your-own, unless they are also listed above)