Thursday, October 11, 2012

Pumpkin Patch Pick'n

Over the weekend, we had one of those days where I just LOVE being a family!

I wanted so much to take the kids out for some fun fall activities and we found the perfect outing when my friend Katie from a local multiples group told me about their pumpkin patch. Katie and her husband Logan are farmers and every year they make a giant corn maze along with opening up part of their farm as a pumpkin patch: Powell Pumpkin Patch!

And the best part? It totally fit our budget because their pumpkin patch and hayrides are FREE!

So we loaded up the kids along with their winter coats, hats, and flannel blankets and headed for the patch. The weather definitely got colder recently, and I think the kids were a little surprised by it! Since they were on solid lockdown last year, I'm not sure they realized how cold it can get!

All loaded up in the wagon and ready to find a pumpkin!
Elijah, Caleb, Abby, and Ellie

I love the various facial expressions as we got ready to roll out!

Caleb                                                                                    Abby

(Is Caleb's hat a riot, or what?! Haha!)

Elijah                                                                                   Ellie

The little pumpkin shack is right at the front of the patch. Since Katie and Logan grow other produce as well, they had some wonderful displays of butternut and acorn squash, gorgeous fiesta squash (so pretty!), red Indian corn, and some fun little mini pumpkins for kids. Our kids thought the mini pumpkins were the best! We even caught Eli giving his a big kiss at one point. Lol!

Little Kids and Little Pumpkins!
Elijah, Ellie, Abby, and Caleb

And, of course, we had to have a family picture!

Then Katie and Logan were kind enough to load us up on one of the tractors for our first hayride out into the patch! It was very important that we found the perfect pumpkin!

Mommy, Abby, Ellie, Caleb, Eli, and Daddy

Out in the middle of the patch, Logan stopped the tractor and they helped us unload the kids to go exploring. I love that they don't make people stay on the path. They encouraged us to go exploring through the patch to find our ideal pumpkin.

Ellie and Eli Getting Ready to Hit the Field

Daddy trying to convince Abby to go into the field, while Caleb surveys his options.

Katie and Abby (look at that little red nose!)

I had no idea that there are as many varieties of pumpkins as there are! I thought that there were carving pumpkins, mini pumpkins, and pie pumpkins. Whoa. I was so, so wrong. They had SIX different sizes of carving pumpkins. I saw one that was over 90 pounds! Pink pumpkins (who would have thought?), Cinderella pumpkins (pretty!), Red Warty Things (that is seriously the name, and they look exactly like they sound), and a bunch of other ones. Click HERE to see a list of some of the specialty pumpkins. It's really amazing!

For myself, I wanted to try a couple of pie pumpkins. I love baking pumpkin flavored goodies, but I wanted to take it a step further and see how they turn out with fresh, straight-from-the-field, pie pumpkin. Katie helped me pick out four (one for each kid!) pie pumpkins. They are so pretty though, I think I'll wait until the end of October. That's the nice thing about the pumpkins, they will last a long time.

Then we decided that a Pink Pumpkin would be a fun change from the usual pumpkins that you find in stores. Logan headed off to find one of those for us, while Sean and I started hunting for our "front porch" pumpkin.

Oh goodness! It was so hard! I'll be honest, I was kind of expecting those cruddy pumpkins that they sell at Walmart. You know, the kind with bruises and soft spots that are lopsided and weird colors.

Their pumpkins were gorgeous. I'm talking, Martha Stewart worthy pumpkins. (Maybe I should send her an email to let her know that real pumpkins exist that meet her standards, and she can stop decoupaging fake ones...)

But eventually, all six of us agreed on our family pumpkin!

The kids were cold at that point, so we headed back to the tractor to ride the rest of the way back with our pie pumpkins, pink pumpkin, and kid-approved family pumpkin!

Daddy unloaded the kids from the tractor and got them back in their wagon while Katie and I walked over to look at the squash. I love cooking with in-season produce, especially when I know that it's straight from the field. We are also big fans of supporting local farmers who are growing food right here in our area. I got a nice array of butternut and fiesta squash for us to enjoy over the next couple of weeks as the weather turns colder. Yummy!

The Kids with their Mini Pumpkins and Pie Pumpkins!
Caleb                                                                                        Abby
Elijah                                                                                         Ellie
And then for fun, Katie was kind enough to give us an extra pumpkin so that we could create a pretty display in front of our house (along with instructions on how to cook all of this when we are done looking at it). What do you think?

After that, we considered our trip a successful family outing! We LOVED the patch and were surprised how family friendly it was! Pumpkin patches so often charge for every little thing, including admission and that can get super expensive for a family our size. With free admission, free hayrides, a free sandpit (with toys to play with!), and a free hay area for the kids, it was the perfect patch for us! The only things to pay for are the pumpkins (very reasonably priced) and the corn maze if that's your thing!

Front Porch Display with Our Family Pumpkin
Carving Pumpkin, Butternut Squash, Pie Pumpkin, Pink Pumpkin, and Mini Pumpkin
P.S. Don't you just love the stems on these fresh pumpkins? They have so much character!

Steps up to the Front Porch

Pie Pumpkin, Butternut Squash, Carving Pumpkins,
and Mini Pumpkins

Pie Pumpkin with Fiesta Squash
The Fiesta Squash actually looks painted!

On our way home, Sean and I decided that this will be a yearly adventure for us. As the kids get older, we look forward to taking them out to Powell Pumpkin Patch every year with the tradition of letting them pick out their own pumpkins! Yay for new family traditions and the memories that go with them!

Our final stop on our way out of Louisberg:
The Louisberg Cider Mill to warm up with Apple Cider Doughnuts and Apple Juice!

What is your favorite fall outing as a family??


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