Picking your own pumpkins is the perfect way to celebrate the spooky season, and that’s why kids of all ages love it. Getting outside and finding the perfectly round or ‘perfectly imperfect’ pumpkin is an excellent way to enjoy the fall sunshine.
In Ontario, we are fortunate to be close to the pumpkin farm. This means you don’t have to settle for a store bought version. Here are our tips for the best pumpkin picking outing – ever!
Dress Appropriately for the Pumpkin Patch
Don’t be afraid to dress spookily, but warmly. Make the occasion fun by letting the kids try out their costumes while they explore the pumpkin patch. Rubber boots, a warm hat, and gloves are always recommended for a chilly October day. For parents, we recommend a pair of work gloves and clothes that are easily washed, because sometimes the pumpkins in the field can be a little dirty.
Gather a Little Inspiration
Visit Pinterest for some great pumpkin carving ideas. If you don’t like getting your hands gooey, try a fun craft, such as pumpkin painting. Think outside the box for decorating. Faces are fun, but for a more sophisticated front porch, you can use a power drill to make little holes in the shape of an interesting pattern. Once you have an idea in mind, you can start your pumpkin search.
What to Bring to the Pumpkin Patch
We recommend you bring paper towels and some old newspaper or a garbage bag to wrap your pumpkin to keep your car clean. You may want to bring some garden shears to cut the vine if it is still attached. Check with your farm to see if you can bring a child’s wagon to load your pumpkin haul back to the car. Bring a camera too. You won’t want to miss the perfect pumpkin Instagram opportunity. #pumpkinpatch
Pick A Pumpkin with Character
Natural lumps and bumps make great scary faces. Stems make creative pumpkin noses. Don’t be afraid to pick a pumpkin with character. The best pumpkins are the ones that are unique. Your pumpkin patch may also have a selection of pumpkin ‘babies’. These are actually called ‘gourds’ and make excellent fall decorations.
Pumpkins that are ripe and ready for picking have an even orange colour, sound hollow when they are tapped and have a dried out stem. Clip the pumpkin from the vine, leaving 3-5 inches of stem. Pick up your pumpkin from the bottom, not from the stem, because it may break. Once you arrive home, it’s best to leave your pumpkin outside in the sunshine. Bringing it inside may cause it to rot before the big day.
Barrie Hill Farms has pumpkins available for picking in good supply from late September until the end of October. For more information, visit our pumpkin picking page.