Drum-roll please… We’re only a couple of weeks away from the 2018 pumpkin season at Kenyon Hall!
Across the farm we’re working hard on the final preparations for this year’s season. So before the fun begins and we open the patches to welcome you to the farm during October I wanted to write a few words about all things pumpkins. There’s some hints and tips at the end to reward those who read the whole post!
Although we feared the pumpkins might suffer from the extreme weather of 2018, as many of our other crops have, they’re actually looking very well! The plants have produced a good yield (i.e. there are lots) and although the average size isn’t enormous, it’s very decent. After such a poor summer fruit season it’s great to be able to report some good news about our pumpkins!
With good weather and a good crop, the pumpkin patch can be a magical place to visit!
However the cutting process shown above helps explain why the pumpkin patches often don’t look quite like the picture postcard you might imagine! By the time October comes, most plants will have started to die away, most pumpkins will have been cut from their stems, and a few pumpkins will have started to rot in the field. But these are just the realities of pumpkin farming and we’re happy to let you see it all for yourself – warts and all. Throw in some wet weather and 1,000s of welly boots and the patches can quickly turn muddy. Even so, most visitors embrace the mud as part of the fun -which child doesn’t love jumping in muddy puddles?! - so as long as you come prepared then you’ll be fine.
As last year, this season will be all about the pumpkins - our maize maze and other fruit/veg picking fields will be closed by the time the pumpkin season starts. With this in mind you should expect to spend an hour or two at the farm this year, rather than a whole day.
How can I plan the best visit?
If you’ve read this far, well done - you’re clearly keen to make the most of your pumpkin visit this year! I’ve written the hints and tips below to try and help you (and us) have the best pumpkin season yet and I’ll be your friend forever if you follow the advice!
To try and ease congestion we ask you to visit on the quietest days you’re free. If at all possible we’d urge you to visit between 15-19th October. On these days we’ll open til 6pm so after school picking and carving is available.
If you can only come on one of the busy days, then it’s best to avoid lunchtime when the crowds are greatest. Come early - we open at 9.30am - or leave it until the lunch rush is over from 3pm onwards. On these days queues are unavoidable so whenever you come please bear with us!
Last year we had a newspaper mis-reporting that we were closed for business. Already this year we’ve seen a Facebook event (now deleted) created by an outside organisation inviting thousands of pre-schoolers to come picking together when we don’t have the facilities to host such large groups. As well-intentioned as these things may be, we’d prefer you to rely on our website for information and in return we promise to update it daily or even hourly during the season! (That's the 3rd link I've put to that page now... I think you get the message!)
Come prepared… Even in the driest autumn, pumpkin picking can be a messy business! We’d suggest everyone comes decked out for a trip to the farm – wellies, old clothes and coats. For those intending to visit the café or farm shop it would be great if you could bring a change of footwear. You can’t imagine how much mopping it takes to scrub the floor clean after a muddy day! Finally, this year we’re encouraging everyone to bring their own bags and boxes to carry the pumpkins home. This will reduce the number of plastic bags we need and help us move towards our mission of becoming plastic free!
James Bulmer, 20th September 2018