Wednesday, 26 October 2016

PUMPKIN PICKING || PICK YOUR OWN FARM

Visiting the local fruit farm each Summer to go and pick our own homegrown, fresh produce is something that has become almost a little tradition to my family and I over the years.
Throughout my childhood, my grandparents and I would go at least once a year to pick our own fruit and veg, and those days out hold some of my fondest memories from when I was growing up. There was just something so exciting about getting our wellies on and venturing out onto the farm fields to explore all of the acres of produce patches! Yes, we could have simply popped to the local supermarket to pick up what we needed, but chances are the food would not be as fresh and I guarantee that walking up a shopping isle is no where near as fun as getting in on the action at the farm..Also, who looks back at their past and remembers the days that they spend in a supermarket?! Personally, not me! In fact, I hated being dragged around Tesco to do the weekly food shop when I was younger, so if there was a more fun way to get food in the cupboards, I was all for it!
With realising how much happiness a simple day out at the local fruit farm can bring and how many lovely memories it can create, I always knew that it was a tradition that I wanted to carry on into my adult life and share with others. So, this year, I decided to take a short trip with Dale to a nearby 'Pick your own' farm..but this time, it was for something a little bit different and a lot more exciting! 

Even though I have been hand picking my own fruit and veg for many years now, there was one thing that I had never considered going to pick previously..My own pumpkins! Now, I am usually more than happy to take a last minute trip to Tesco a couple of days before Halloween to pick up a pumpkin, however when I found out you could go to a farm and pick your own I got extremely excited and it went straight to the top of my to-do list! I spent some time trying to find a farm local to us that offered pumpkin picking and luckily I managed to find one about 30 minutes away from our home. I did some research on when the best time was to go to the farm and pick our pumpkins and I discovered that their last pick your own open day is actually THIS week, so we managed to get involved just in time! Saturday was the first day that the Pumpkin Patch opened and I wanted to ensure that we got there early so we could get our hands on some fresh, good quality pumpkins!   

Saturday morning soon rolled around and although the sun was slightly peering through the clouds, there was a distinct chill in the air and it felt like the perfect, crisp Autumn morning..One of the first of many to come! I layered up my clothes and bundled on my coat and my scarf, and we got in the car ready to start our journey to Pumpkin Patch land! 
When we arrived, it was pretty obvious that we weren't the only ones who had the great idea of getting to the farm early..The carpark was completely full and people were flocking to the fields in their dozens, with the hope to bag themselves the biggest, brightest, most spectacular pumpkin on the patch..The race was on! We quickly abandoned our car on the farmers field next to the car park and we scarpered up to the farm shop. From here we had the choice of walking though the green fields of overgrown grass until we reached the pumpkin patch, or we could wait to get on the next tractor and trailer which would drive us up the fields and drop us off exactly where we needed to be. After our fairly long journey in the car, Dale and I decided that we would stretch our legs and get some fresh, country air in our lungs, so we chose to go on foot and embrace walking in the cold, Autumnal British weather..It was actually very refreshing and somewhat an enjoyable brisk walk!
Before arriving at the pumpkin patch I had these visions of what it was going to be like..Maybe I had seen too many pictures of American pumpkin farms, but I had envisioned rows and rows of the largest, juiciest and most orange pumpkins you've ever seen. Unfortunately, the English reality didn't quite surpass those expectations but nevertheless, it was still pretty impressive!

After spending about 40 minutes walking up and down and round and round the huge pumpkin patch, looking at hundreds of the same yet different looking pumpkins, I managed to gather together a handful of pumpkins that I was pleased with. Somehow, I actually ended up with A LOT more than I originally anticipated..My initial plan was to go to Essington Farm and pick just two large pumpkins..One for Dale and one for myself. Once I got there and saw all the pumpkins, I think I got myself in a slight bit of a tizzy, and I unintentionally ended up leaving the farm with 8 pumpkins, in a range of different shapes and sizes. The experience of picking my own was just too exciting for me to handle..but, at least the house and garden will look all festive ready for Halloween!  


  

Whether you want to pick up fresh veg, pick your own pumpkins or you simply just want to have a lovely stroll through the farm fields on an Autumn day, I would definitely recommend visiting a pick your own farm! Even though this particular farm closes at the end of this week, there may still be a few more around that might have squash and pumpkins available, or if you aren’t too fussed, there is always your local supermarket..Although, buying pre-picked ones on the shelf just isn't quite the same as wandering through a field with your wagon in tow, choosing your favourite pumpkins! 


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