As fall approaches the "Pumpkin Patches" have started to pop up everywhere. I just love these fun places. What a great place to wander through even if you are not a kid to watch all the smiles on those little faces as they run for the biggest pumpkins. And now the patches have amusements for all....see some of these patches....,
The Tanaka Pumpkin Farms in offers these fun things to do there:
Wagon Ride around our 30 acre farm
* Wander around our corn maze
* Pick your own vegetables
* Visit our petting zoo (sheep, goats and alpacas)
* Take pictures by "Tanaka's Pile of Pumpkins"
* Finally pick your own pumpkin right off the vine
Pumpkin Car Races
Some Tips when going to a Pumpkin Patch:
•many pumpkin patches also offer a corn maze, hay rides, petting farm, or other fun for families
•to choose your fruit (yes, fruit) : come with a carving pattern in mind; or get inspired by the shapes you find
•make sure your pumpkin can sit level on the ground
•ripe ones will have a dryish stem
•leave the stem on! You'll need a handle for the "lid" of your carved pumpkin. (And don't carry the pumpkin by the stem or it might break off.)
- And some farms even have Pig Races
- Pig Races: Heck, it's worth the visit to a farm if only for the pig races! The little guys run pell-mell around the track, at a full scamper, squealing all the way! They know there's a snack waiting for them at the end! Everyone quickly gathers when they announce the next race! Place your bets and possibly win a prize, or lose your bacon! Pig races are fast becoming easier to find. They are so popular, you can probably find a farm near you that has them.
•see more tips about picking, carving, cooking; free carving patterns too
This website provides a page for every state in the U.S. and 6 other country pages, listing the pumpkin patches, pick your own (PYO) Pumpkin farms, hay rides, corn mazes, Fall festivals, Halloween festivals and events there.
How to pick a Pumpkin?
Decoration to paint or carve:
OK, Then you need only look for any pumpkin that is
- visually appealing, evenly a deep orange. The shape is just whatever appeals to you. If it grew on its side and has a flat spot, you can either make that the make or use it as part of your design!
- free from cuts, soft spots, bruises. The flesh should feel hard, and not give easily. Infections can invade easily and cause rot
- Make sure the stem is attached.
- Store it carefully, especially if you pick it from the vine yourself. Cure a fresh-picked pumpkin by keeping it in a dry place. Don't handle or disturb it. Curing toughens the rind, making it less prone to rot. Pumpkins will keep for months in a cool (50 F to 65F dry, low humidity environment; such as a cool, dry basement.
To make a pumpkin pie!
Then you need a small, sweet type of pumpkin that has been developed for eating. They are smaller, typically about 8" to 10" diameter. The meat is much less stringy and smoother than a decorative pumpkin variety. Pumpkin is rich in vitamin A and potassium. One-half cup of cooked pumpkin provides more than the recommended daily allowance of vitamin A. One cup of cooked pumpkin contains only 81 calories. It's low in fat and sodium! Usually you can get these at the grocery store, and some of the pumpkin patches and farm stands have them. Be sure to tell them that you intend to use it for a pumpkin pie. Again, look for firm, no soft spots, or signs of any rot. See this page for easy, illustrated directions to make a pumpkin pie from a fresh pumpkin!
Varieties of Pumpkins:
- Sugar - Excellent for baking
- Jack O'Lantern - most common for carving
- White Lumina - unusual, medium-sized white pumpkin
- Mini - Great for decoration
- Gourds - Many varieties, used for decorations