There are only 2 weeks left to pick a perfect pumpkin before Halloween so it’s time to head out for a great pumpkin picking adventure. Do we choose a pumpkin or does it choose us? Sure there are cardboard bins filled with pumpkins in all sorts of box stores, but there is just something special about heading out to the farm and gazing across the pumpkin patch knowing your perfect pumpkin is awaiting you. Maybe it’s that odd shape or nub that will make the perfect wart on the face you plan to carve. It can be a magical experience and it is always a joy to see our guests well pleased with their pumpkin choices. Here are a few tips to help your family experience the magic this Fall Pumpkin Harvest Season.
1) Inspect your pumpkin. Be sure the stem is solidly attached and that there are no nicks or soft spots …especially on the bottom. This will help ensure that your pumpkin lasts for carving or into November for décor and pies.
2) Make it a Date and Flip the Day ~ Pumpkins aren’t just for kids and visiting the pumpkin patch can be a great fall date. Since lots of families will pick in the morning and head home for naps, we suggest couples start with lunch at our sister properties, Bluemont Vineyard or Dirt Farm Brewing and then come over for the 3pm pig race and then ride out to the pumpkin patch. October is Virginia Wine Month so plan to stop at another winery after picking on your way home.
3) Bring a wagon~There can be lots of walking around farms with play areas and pumpkins can be big and heavy and the walk to the parking lot after a busy day. Many farms offer wheelbarrows to carry your booty to the car but, if you bring a wagon, you’ll have it the whole day to carr
y the kids and gear and then load up your pumpkins after picking for an easy exit.
4) Make Separation Plans ~ There can be lots of folks visiting the pumpkin patch and kids can be excited to move on to the next play structure or event without waiting for family to catch up. Make a plan with your kids in the event you get separated. Tell younger children to go to a cash register attendant to say they have lost their parents. This way the staff can help reconnect you. Set a place to meet such as at the How Tall This Fall Sign which is next to the hayride area. Take a family picture there to “mark the spot” so your older children know where to meet you if you get separated.
5) Bring your Camera~ Your goal is to create memories that you can savor always so break out the camera or smart phone and bring it along for some great family photo ops. Everyone wants a Cinderella Coach memory right?
6) Play Hooky & Avoid the Crowds~Weekday afternoons are always the least busy at pumpkin patches. Take a day off and make memories on a beautiful fall afternoon…your family is worth it. If that is not an option Sunday Mornings are the least busy on weekends.
7) Plan what will you do with your leftover jack-o-lantern ~ The compost pile isn’t the only option to dispose of your carved pumpkin after Halloween. Check out Pumpkin Chunkin’ events in Northern Virginia and the demise of your squash can be as much fun as the search to find it. At GCF, we feed all our smashed pumpkins to our cows and pigs who greatly appreciate having this delicacy opened for them making it easier to eat.
Now you know the secrets, so plan your pumpkin pick adventure sometime in the next 2 weeks!