It’s Time to Visit the Pumpkin Patch by Marilyn Ostermiller

Pumpkins are ripe on the vine and ready for picking now through early November. A trip to a pumpkin patch can be fun for the whole family. Even toddlers can manage to capture one just the right size.

Some search for the perfect pumpkin to sculpt into a Jack O’ Lantern. Others are interested in making their own seasoned pumpkin seeds or even pumpkin pie.

There are two types of pick-your-own pumpkin patches, those where you go out into the field and pull them off the vine and those where the pumpkins have already been pulled off the vine. Those that are off the vine are usually displayed either out in the field where they grew or on tables. Some pumpkin patches provide entertainment and seasonal treats like apple cider and donuts.                    IMG_1022

Where to pick pumpkins:
For a list of pumpkin patches across the country, visit the Department of Agriculture website in states were pumpkins are grown.

Here’s a trio of popular pumpkin patches in New Jersey:
Alstede Farms, 1 Alstede Farms Lane, Chester, NJ 07930. Phone: 908-879-7189. Email: Weekend activities include picking, hayrack rides and a 10-acre corn maze.
Terhune Orchards, 330 Cold Soil Road, Princeton, NJ 08540. Phone: 609-924-2310. Email: Weekend activities include hay bale maze, adventure barn, pony rides.
Johnson’s Farm, 133 Church Road, Medford, NJ 08055. Phone: 609-654-8643. Email: Hay wagon rides to the picking areas, petting zoo, playground.

If you go:
• Call first to make sure they have an ample supply of ripe pumpkins.
• Wear clothes and shoes that you don’t mind getting dirty.
• Take a plastic or recyclable bag big enough to tote the pumpkin.
• Take water or juice and hand sanitizer.

Learn More:
America’s Greatest Pumpkin Patches by Randy Schmitz. Published in 2014 by CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform. The book introduces readers to the five big-gest pumpkin farms in the United States. In addition to full walk throughs and histories of those farms, there are descriptions of 11 more pumpkin farms around the country. Appropriate for adults looking for the ultimate family pumpkin picking experience. Non-fiction.

The Pumpkin Patch (Robin Hill School) written by Margaret McNamara and illustrated by Mike Gordon. The story is about a class trip to a pumpkin patch and a search for a perfect pumpkin. Early reading book suitable for Preschool through First Grade. Fiction

It’s a Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown, written by Charles Schultz and illustrated by Scott Jeralds. Published by Simon Spotlight with audio recording in 2015. The Peanuts gang is up to their old tricks. Suitable for Preschool and older.

Life Cycle of a Pumpkin, written by Ron Fridell and Patricia Walsh, Published by Heinemann in 2009. An in-depth look at pumpkins from planting the seeds to harvesting a ripe one. Suita-ble to First through Third Grades. Non-fiction.

ROTTEN PUMPKIN, author David Schwartz, photographer Dwight Kuhn 2013 Creston Books               RottenPumpkinCvr001
Compost won’t mean the same thing to you after you’ve seen the amazing transformation of Jack from grinning pumpkin to mold-mottled wreckage to hopeful green shoot. The story of de-composition is vividly told so that science comes to life (and death). Part story, part science, and a whole lot of fun.

These books are available at

This post was prepared by Marilyn Ostermiller, a long-time business journalist who has begun writing for children. You can follow her on Twitter @Marilyn_Suzanne.      

With Marilyn Ostermiller

With Marilyn Ostermiller