Monday, October 1, 2012

Fall Into Fall In The District: Where to Pick Pumpkins In DC

Welcome to the second part in RWB’s “Fall Into Fall” series. Last week, I introduced the series to you and let you in on my favorite corn mazes in the area. For those of you who missed it, check it out here. This week, my fellow fall fanatics, I give you Red White and Bourbon’s guide to pumpkin picking.

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I love me a good pumpkin. Ever since I was a young girl, I ADORED going to a pumpkin patch and walking around for what seemed like hours in search of a pumpkin worthy to be on It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown. As you probably guessed, this excitement over pumpkin picking never went away (fun fact: I get excited A LOT, and generally just start laughing and clapping at everything, not annoying at all). After going away to college, I would always force Mama-RWB to take me pumpkin picking when I was home on breaks and we would end up with mini pumpkins to decorate my dorm room, along with larger pumpkins for the porch at home. I’m sure no one will be surprised to know that I still force mother dearest to take me pumpkin picking. In the spirit of blogger honesty, I will most likely do that this weekend since my sister will also be home for madre’s birthday.

For those of you who share my penchant for pumpkins keep reading for my favorite places to pick ‘em.

Cox Farms
Now I am a go into the field and pick my personal pumpkin type of girl. I don’t want somebody to do all the work for me. I want to hop on a wagon and trench through a couple of acres until I find the perfect match for me. It's probably because I want it to turn into a dream carriage like in Cinderella, but I digress...

But if you don't share my enthusiasm for heading into a field to find a pumpkin, but you also don't want to just pick up your fall staple at the grocery store, then Cox Farms is for you. While it’s aimed at families with children (I mean who doesn’t love hayrides, giant slides, and bouncy tents), there is something fun for everyone. Pumpkins are sold in the shop or farmstand, (already gathered from the field) and there are live musical performances on weekends along with a stellar farmers market. Cox Farms is the perfect balance of being “in nature” while not getting too immersed (I promise I won’t judge you… too much). To buy tickets (suggested since it gets quite busy) click here. Cox Farms is in Vienna, Va., and open from 10 a.m. - 6 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays. The last admission is an hour before closing.

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Crooked Run Orchard
For my readers that are fellow pumpkin pickers who want to do all the work and get the perfect pumpkin, Crooked Run Orchard in Purcellville, Va., is perfect for you! Parking is free, admission is free and pumpkins are just  49 cents per pound. You only pay for what you pick. Open weekends from 9 a.m. - 5:30 p.m., pumpkins and gourds are yours for the taking. Now this is what I’m talking about! Heading out into the great outdoors and picking pumpkins. I’m not sure there is anything more quintessentially fall than that. Please note that this establishment is CASH ONLY.
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Great Country Farms
Located across the road from one of my favorite vineyards, a trip to Bluemont, Va., is a perfect way to spend a fall Saturday. Start the day early at Great Country Farms, watch pig races, visit the Pumpkin Princess (how can I get this job?), take a ride in the pumpkin carriage, then jump on the wagon to the pumpkin patch. Plus, there’s live music and fresh seasonal produce, jams and jellies, meats, honey, and local art for sale. And… WAIT FOR IT… there are even apple cider slushies. Doesn't that sound delicious? Sign me up immediately!

The Pumpkin Princess
Plus, after you’ve found your pumpkin, drive across the road and up a hill to Bluemont Vineyard to finish the day. Grab a bottle of wine, and relax with one of the most beautiful views in the area. I also can’t even lie to you and say that this isn’t one of the most breathtaking drives in the region. Although I recommend avoiding the toll road and going the back way through Fairfax to get even better views. Great Country Farms is open 9 a.m. - 6 p.m. on weekends and there is an admission fee, so make sure to bring cash.

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Summers Farm
This weekend you can find me and the RWB fam at Summers Farm in Frederick, Md. Talk about a plethora of pumpkins. I am always overwhelmed when I arrive. So many pumpkins, so little time, y’all. Yes, I probably repeat this about a thousand times. Open Saturdays and Sundays from 10 a.m. - 7 p.m., you’re guaranteed to find just what you’re looking for. Plus, if you want to make it a nice little Saturday (Will Ferrell in Old School style) a ticket includes admission to the corn maze, pumpkin patch, jumping pillows, hayrides, farmer golf, and rubber ducky races (no idea what this is, but it sounds AWESOME). I recommend getting out of town early, grabbing a Pumpkin Spice Latte, and hitting the road. For those of you that love a good deal as much as I do, coupons are available here.



So now that you’ve got your pumpkin, you may be asking yourself what in the world do I do with it? For tips and tricks on pumpkin carving, I recommend Pinterest (shocking, I know), as they have some great ideas for decorating. Your local craft store or Target will have supplies as well. One of my favorite tips I saw was to use a rubber sledge hammer and metal cookie cutters to get adorable shapes onto your pumpkin. Personally, I’m going to attempt to glitter monogram a pumpkin this year; who knows how that will work out. For you carvers, a little trick: to preserve your pumpkin and prevent wrinkling around the cut areas, rub petroleum jelly along the carvings.


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Now if you’re more of a cook, once you’ve scooped out all the “guts” (I'm so mature) you can roast the pumpkin seeds and use the pulp for all sorts of recipes: pumpkin bread, pumpkin pie, bread pudding and more. Just Google it, or consult Paula Deen, you won't be disappointed in the recipes! I mean butter and love, y'all. (PS My house currently smells like Paula Deen pumpkin pie because I stocked up on her candles at Wal-Mart in Blacksburg, it's pretty much amazing).

Check back here next week for the next part in the fall series - orchards. For now, if you have favorite places to pick pumpkins, leave them below!

Happy Pumpkin Picking,


3 comments:

  1. I love Larriland Farms in Woodbine, MD. They have both pick-your-own field and pre-picked items in their store. It's not too far from the city, either, so you can make just an afternoon of things if you don't have a whole day!

    http://www.pickyourown.com/harvest.html

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    1. That place looks great. Thanks for the information. I'm so excited to pick pumpkins this weekend.

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