Signs of Halloween are cropping up everywhere, and it’s time to start thinking about finding your perfect pumpkin. While local farm stands, farmers' markets and even grocery stores typically have a good selection, it can be a lot more fun to pick your own straight from the field. Many pumpkin patches offer additional activities for families, like hay rides, bouncy houses and corn mazes, so you can turn your hunt into a fall pumpkin patch day trip.
Read to the end, where you'll find my family's favorite pumpkin bread recipe. Yum!
Boston Hill Farm
Route 114, North Andover, MA 01845
Boston Hill Farm offers pick-your-own pumpkins in September and October; we suggest calling for specific picking dates and times. Starting at 11 am on weekends, hop on a wagon and take a hay ride to the field to scout out your pumpkins. The farm also features a bakery, ice cream, and a petting farm.
Carver Hill Orchard
Brookside Ave, Stow, MA 01775
After filling their bags with apples, kids can pick pumpkins straight from the vines. Visit the farm store for crafts, decorations, fresh cider, chicken pies, fudge, peanut brittle, and cookies. A stop at the stand outside for hot cider and donuts is absolutely essential.
30 Valley Road (Rt. 35), Danvers, MA 01923
Not only pumpkins, but a corn maze, too! Picking starts in late September, and the field is open every day from 8am-6pm.
106 West Acton Rd, Stow, MA 01775
Shelburne Farm offers pumpkin picking in October; consult the website for the schedule. On weekends, Shelburne Farm offers hay rides, pony rides, a mini hay maze, and other activities perfect for young children.
315 South Bradford St, North Andover, MA 01845
Choose your perfect pumpkin and spend the day enjoying an abundance of extras during Smolak's weekend Harvest Festivals, with a hay wagon ride, playground and corn maze. There's also an All About Animals area with pony rides. One-price packages are available for the activities.
Yield: 2 loaves
3 cups sugar
1 1/8 cups oil
4 cups flour
1 tablespoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
2 1/4 cups pumpkin puree
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees
- Grease 2 loaf pans (or 24 muffin tins)
- Vigorously mix sugar and oil. Add eggs slowly while mixing.
- In a separate bowl, sift together flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and baking powder. Add to the sugar-and-eggs mixture.
- Add in the pumpkin puree and mix thoroughly.
- Divide batter into pans (or muffin tins).
- Bake for approximately 55 minutes or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean. For muffins, bake 20-25 minutes.
Recipe from Fresh and Honest: Food From the Farms of New England and the Kitchen of Henrietta's Table, by Chef Peter Davis
Originally published September 2011 and updated September 2012 & 2013 by Audrey Trieschman; updated September 2014 & 2015 by Tara D