Pumpkin picking is one of my favourite things to do in October – I love nothing more than getting my wellies on and searching through the patch admiring the different shapes, sizes and colours of pumpkin to choose from.
This year, Jake and I visited Lower Drayton Farm, in Penkridge, Staffordshire, who have an amazing event running until the end of the month and throughout half term.
This years bumper crop was grown from 80,000 pumpkin seeds, which has produced a sea of huge orange pumpkins of varying shades, as well as white, green and even yellow veggies at the Bower family’s farm. After parking the car, a tractor and trailer takes you on a bumpy ride down to the 12 acre patch where you can grab a wheelbarrow and start the search for the best pumpkin to carve, and which ones you want to take home. Cross the width of the patch and there even are fresh carrots to uproot – which I definitely recommend honey glazing at home.
Attraction manager, Sarah Peacock, said “Halloween is one of our favourite times of year and the whole team love the PYO Pumpkins event – it’s just great fun! We’ve really gone to town with the pumpkins this year and the patch is massive. There’s already a great range of pumpkins – from massive ones through to cute dinky pumpkins, and lots of colours – traditional orange, green and even white ones so our visitors can get really creative.”
One pumpkin is included in the price of your ticket, with extras priced at £2, £4 and £6 depending on size. Jake and I went for one medium orange pumpkin to carve, as well as a white, yellow and orange medium pumpkin to take home, a handful of carrots, and a couple of small pumpkins.
Lower Drayton Farm had their own dedicated carving station, which is ideal if you don’t fancy the mess in your own kitchen. Not only that, but their incredibly professional tools make carving a total breeze, rather than struggling with a blunt bread knife at home – and all the scooped out pumpkin flesh and seeds get fed to the farm’s pigs!
Jake and I managed to carve out our pumpkin in less than 20 minutes – and we were fairly impressed with our handy work considering neither of us are exactly artists. Whether your a total novice or a seasoned spook-tacular pumpkin carver, you can enter a pumpkin carving competition for a £1 on the day, with all proceeds going to the farm’s Charity of the Year, The Birmingham Children’s Hospital Charity and a great prize up for grabs.
After pumpkin carving, visitors can enjoy a woodland walk, see some of the farm’s friendly animals, and little ones can have a go on the play park and zip wire. Snap a photo in the photobooth, complete with haybale spider, and pick your own sweetcorn in the cornfield. Just don’t do what I did – go in alone, lose your bearings, and panic in case the Children of the Corn come and steal you before you find your way back out.
Whilst all the sunflowers in the next section of the field are very much past their best, it’s well worth taking a head or two home to feed the birds with – they’ll greatly appreciate it this time of year. Both the corn and the sunflower seeds are free to pick, so definitely grab a few and take them home with you.
Pumpkin picking and carving is hungry work, so Jake and I headed over to the pop up cafe provided by Pear Tree Farm catering serving burgers, hot dogs, and of course, a delicious fresh pumpkin soup, as well as a selection of cakes, sweet treats, and hot and cold drinks. There is a huge stretch tent full of picnic benches to eat, carve and shelter from any drizzle.
The farm’s PYO Pumpkin Patch is open today, (Sunday, October 10), then daily from October 16 to 31. Tickets are £7 per person and must be booked in advance, but under twos go free. But if you’ve got tots and would like to make a day of it, it’s well worth booking tickets to their new PLAY@ Lower Drayton Farm attraction, which sees kids explore their 900sqm indoor play barn. It features the longest racing Astro slide in England, gravity drop slides, Ninja Llama run and a baby area dedicated to under ones.