Call me humbug (or whatever the Halloween equivalent is, spoil sport maybe) but I really am not a fan of Halloween. Specifically the spooky aspect. I scare easy, am afraid of masks and just generally don’t buy into the whole intensity of it or see the point, especially for the children. Don’t even get me started on the sweets and chocolate element that seem to overtake every ‘holiday’!
However, pumpkin spice and all things nice, as the saying goes; I am all for. Wholesome autumnal goodness with fields covered in orange hues, hay bales, chunky knits, big scarves and bobble hats, soup with chunks of bread smothered in butter and hot cups of coffee in hand as the trees change before your eyes. Then, I’m your gal.
Pumpkin picking subsequently is one of my favourite traditions.
I mean I say tradition, we have only actually been once before when we visited The Adventure Farm a couple of years ago! As much as I love to add to our family traditions over the years some are definitely more strict than others. I would never miss strawberry picking or Christmas Eve movie afternoon for example. Pumpkin picking, is a little more fluid which I think is the very best way.
This weekend though, after discovering our favourite pick your own fruit farm Scaddows, where we go every single year without fail, now had a pumpkin patch we took a trip for a spot of autumn fun as the sun shone.
Don’t get me wrong I am pretty happy to buy a pumpkin in Sainsburys along with our weekly food shop. It’s just sometimes, when the stars align it is just lovely to be able to make even the most ordinary of things a little special. If you used to read my ordinary moments posts (I might even get around to bringing them back soon, maybe) you’ll know how much I love treasuring the every day. So we decided to turn this ordinary autumnal moment into an outing, supporting a local business whilst we were at it.
Scaddows have two fields full with homegrown pumpkins of all shapes and sizes including gourds, ghost pumpkins and everything from mini to absolutely huge, which gave us the opportunity to chose completely different pumpkins than the norm. I love that.
Whilst some places have masses of similar orange pumpkins simply placed in a field (which has it’s aesthetically pleasing benefits for sure) personally I love the rustic nature of wading through picking from an actual patch, overgrown weeds, rotten pumpkins and all. In the middle of nowhere it felt so quintessentially British whilst feeling 100% Americanised for partaking in all the pumpkin spiced Halloween fun.
Eva looked for ages to find the perfect one for her with what seemed like a thorough and complex list of requirements. Eddy picked some on sight, preferring character and pumpkins still attached. And Roma, well she had a very specific plan that she was going to find the biggest pumpkin there was available before we had even left the house. That she did.
Once she had spotted the bright orange beauty from afar and made a beeline for it she would not let it out of her sight until I agreed to let her have it. In fact she didn’t want to take her hand off it less anyone else swoop in and take it from under her nose. Of course no-one was going to do that to a protective 4 year old and at 11am on the day of opening there were really only a handful of people in the vicinity at all!
I actually told her the only way she could have it was if she could pick it up herself and my goodness did she give a good go bless her heart. Forever completely committed to the cause! I however was worried she would pull something or get a hernia so I reluctantly agreed we would in fact test the strength of the sledge with this giant monstrosity that set me back the maximum charge of £10. She was so happy!
Even happier to discover a worm on the under side when we picked it up. Girl loves herself a worm!
Me, I wanted a ghost pumpkin, to add to the variety and, well because I am nothing if not a blogging cliche sometimes! I made Eddy walk around for ages to get the best looking one and had a heated discussion when I said what he was choosing weren’t ‘pumpkin enough’. Poor man!
This was the beauty I deemed acceptable enough to bring home!
Not only are there pumpkins to pick, after borrowing a sledge to help bring them back up the hill and hoping it holds up under the weight. The farm was decorated simply with hay bales to have fun on, wash stations with brushes and towels saving your car from the muddy pumpkins. Although it won’t help with the muddy children – of course Roma had to be the one to get filthy – but you’re on your own there! And to end we followed the trick or treat trail.
Yes the trail was a little freaky and culminated in a bag of sweets from the shop at the end but the girls enjoyed it which just added and extended our day and was just wholesome family time. A kind man even offered to take a family photo of us which was nice, and shock horror everyone is looking at the camera and smiling!
After weighing and paying for our pumpkins (all 6 of them) we had a coffee and sausage sandwich in the cafe. Although warming up wasn’t strictly necessary as it was one of those gorgeous autumnal days where the sun shines and the leaves glisten making you realise how beautiful the countryside really is. Not in the cafe though as unfortunately that looks over the car park, not exactly the same feel watching a sea of visitors pulling up. A real shame.
All in all it was a really enjoyable autumn activity and way to spend a morning which didn’t feel too commercialised and I am sure we will be back next year.
It is free to walk around and the trails, you just have to pay for your pumpkin of choice which is sold by weight and has approximate guides in the shop as you go in which are a good gauge. I think it was 75p a kilo up to a maximum of £10. We paid £26 for the 6 we have here.
This is also quite possibly the quickest blog post I’ve ever written (some are years in the making) but if you’re local to the Derbyshire area I wanted to write it up as it started this weekend and is open every day 10-5 until Halloween itself and is well worth a visit if you’re looking for an activity to do especially with half term coming up.
If you’re not local then with the rise of the pumpkin patch popularity I am sure there are lots more farms and places that do this now so I’m sure there will be one near you. I would say just go with what you like, I’m more of a simple field kinda girl than a big place where I would spend more than I do on my weekly shop letting the children ride rides and not take as much notice of the very reason we are there, however if that’s your thing you certainly can find that around too.
I am glad we decided to add pumpkin picking to our yearly traditions and look forward to the designs the children come up with as they live on the drive for the next two weeks. Oh and just to find lots of pumpkin recipes too. As nice as it is to decorate and display I also like to make the most of the produce so lovingly grown meticulously chosen and expertly picked if I do say so myself!