At the moment the one activity that every blogger, everywhere seems to be doing is picking their own pumpkins. Over the past few weeks, everywhere I looked on the internet there were pumpkins, be it recipes, halloween decoration or a day out at a pick your own farm. And that was starting to lead to me getting serious pumpkin envy – yes that is a thing! A few weeks ago I realised that the popular activity of chosing your very own pumpkin from a pumpkin farm was something that I had never done and I began to wonder why not? I have always loved Halloween, so Halloween hatred wasn’t the reason and after racking my brains for a while I realised there was no reason why I hadn’t been. I just hadn’t. Well that was all about to change because as we were driving past the PYO at The Balloon Tree Farmshop & Cafe, near York, I decided that enough was enough and I stopped to have a look, along with the rest of my family! It was time to see what all the fuss was about. It was time to go pumpkin picking!
| Initial Excitement |
As we pulled into the PYO, I couldn’t quite believe my eyes. There were SO many pumpkins, so many infact that I got quite overexcited and wanted to buy them all… I managed, however, to restrain myself, because as much as these pumpkins were great, they were not the ones I had come for. I wanted to get out in the field and choose my own, I mean the idea of pick your own isn’t to pick your own off the shelf. You see what I’m saying? None the less the initial excitement of seeing all the pumpkins laid out before me, in so many colours, sizes and varieties was brilliant and a great way to start my first PYO experience.
| Preparation |
The first thing to do when you are ready to get picking is to get a cart/wheelbarrow because pumpkins are a LOT heavier than they look and I’m a weed anyway so I jumped at the opportunity to get something to help me gather all the orange goodness. Unfortunately, my initial excitement had not quite worn off and I wasn’t paying attention so I chose a child’s cart. To wheel it along I had to bend down and as we decided to go out in the middle of Storm Brian, my flailing cart acted as a parachute, slowing down the progress of the whole mission. Oops! Don’t worry though, nothing was going to stop us and we eagerly set off in search of the perfect pumpkin.
When we got to the field it turned out that at The Balloon Tree they ready cut the pumpkins and lay them out, all prepped for us to choose our favourite one. Now, normally I would be disappointed at the fact that it wasn’t what some people would call a ‘truly authentic experience’. However, it was actually perfect because the impromptu nature of our trip had led to me being dressed for going out for lunch, not for hacking away at a pumpkin vine. The Balloon Tree win on pumpkin preparation and I, in my ‘Sunday Best’ do not.
| Finding the Perfect Pumpkin |
So now it was time to get on with what we came to do, pick pumpkins! This is actually harder than it looks as all of a sudden everyone becomes a pumpkin expert and ones that would have shone out as perfect in a supermarket are rejected. Either that or you turn into a crazy trolley dash lady and try and collect as many as possible. I wouldn’t go down this route if I was you or you will pay for it, quite literally at the till. Having said that, I thought the prices were actually so reasonable, especially for the quality of the pumpkins – there really were some perfect pumpkins just waiting to be taken to a loving home ready for Halloween.
I think that this was one of my favourite things about picking my own pumpkins was actually the feeling after we had chosen them & were ready to go. Knowing that I had gone out & chosen them myself, actually made me feel really proud of them, and even display/carve them in a more careful way. Sad as it may sound, there is something really special about it. At a PYO you can find exactly the pumpkin that you want and somehow because you have picked it yourself it feels ok to show it off, because you didn’t just nip round to the local shop on the morning of Halloween only to find the one one left is squishy, dented mess of a pumpkin at the bottom of the cardboard crate. Pumpkin pride is definitely a thing, I’m sure that I am not the first person to feel it and I’m sure I won’t be the last.
A side note – if you plan to eat it, I really think going to a pick your own is the best way forwards. I’m sure it will taste better for being fresh & not having stacked up thousands of food miles. Also, you can find the perfect size for whatever you want to make, minimising waste food. Environmentally friendly, fresh, local produce. Yes, please!
I am posting this slighty before Halloween so it isn’t too late for you to get your own butt down to a pick your own near you and have some fun! Have you ever picked your own pumpkin, if not why not? Give it a go! I really enjoyed it and I’m sure you would too. Let me know how you get on.