When I was growing up, one of our family traditions was a trip to our local pumpkin patch. I always loved trying to find the best pumpkin, or at least one better than my brother’s. It was even more exciting when I found a pumpkin attached to a vine. This meant I could take my jackknife out of its holster and use it to cut the vine.
After finding the perfect pumpkin, we ventured into the store to buy caramel apples, homemade apple pies, and apple cider.
After a couple of hours, we jumped back into the family station wagon and headed home. Back in those days, there were no bounce houses, corn mazes, haunted houses, or pumpkin cannons. Just a good old-fashioned farm.
Fast forward to today. Many pumpkin farms are major attractions that draw people from near and far on a nice sunny day, especially when the favorite football team has a bye. If you’re taking your kids or grandkids to a pumpkin farm for the first time, here are some tips you may find helpful.
1. Research. If you’re going to a pumpkin farm for the first time, do your research. Visit the website to find out:
- What activities are available;
- Food options;
- Admission and parking fees; and
- Hours of operation.
I remember taking my kids to a pumpkin farm when we were a young family. It was so expensive that instead of enjoying the day, I worried about the money spent and not having enough.
2. Encourage your kids to walk. I know this can be difficult because before you can utter the words, they’re gone. Their excitement is too much to contain. Keep in mind that during the year farming operations occur. The ground can be very uneven due to the heavy farming equipment. The uneven terrain, along with corn stalks and pumpkin vines, could trip them along the way. While you’d never expect a broken wrist or a twisted ankle at a pumpkin farm, it’s certainly possible.
3. Discuss parking lot safety. The bigger the farm, the more traffic and parking headaches you’ll encounter.
4. Wash your hands. Some of the larger farms have portable bathrooms with hand-washing stations nearby. These stations are great after feeding the goats and before enjoying a picnic lunch. If you don’t know that the farm has hand-washing stations, bring hand sanitizer.
5. Don’t forget the cash. If you’re like me, the only thing you have in your purse or wallet are receipts. I never carry cash because I use my debit card for everything. Keep in mind, however, that smaller farms may only accept cash.
6. Apply sunscreen. A nice fall day can still be warm and sunny.
7. Wear the appropriate shoes and clothes. As I mentioned, today’s farms offer so many different activities, like hay bales to climb, zip lines, pony rides, and corn mazes. Jeans and long-sleeved shirts can help prevent cuts and scrapes. As for shoes, close-toed shoes are the best option. Again, these working farms have fields, gravel paths, and uneven ground. I remember my daughter once insisted on wearing flip-flops. It makes for an interesting time when the flip-flop breaks.
8. Pack plenty of water and light snacks. Hydration is always important when spending time outdoors.
9. Be patient and respectful. While everyone is there to have a good time, it’s possible someone may skip ahead of you in line, the person behind the counter is working slowly, or someone bumps you and you spill your soda. Take a deep breath and think about what’s important.
10. Don’t forget to enjoy yourself. Take plenty of pictures and enjoy the time with your family and friends. Some of my favorite pictures are of my family at our local pumpkin farm.