Last week, cute pajamas for Bruiser and Sparkles arrived in the mail from their Grammy. It was a fun reminder that Halloween is right around the corner (their first Halloween!) It was also a reminder for me that it was time to get some fall decor … pumpkins and mums.
My husband was home that day and wanted to go take our dog on an off-leash run at a great state park called Nod Brook in Avon, Connecticut. I did some quick research on places to pick pumpkins in that area and found a place right around the corner called the Pickin’ Patch.
After we tired the dog out at the park, we headed over to the farm. When we arrived, we saw lots of pumpkins and mums for sale outside and tons of fall vegetables inside.
We were surprised, however, that we did not see people heading out to the field to pick pumpkins. I thought that was how the process worked, but maybe I was wrong. I headed inside to get the scoop.
Once inside, a very nice woman let me know that Hurricane Irene and further rains had completely flooded the field and made all the crops unsafe for harvest. Their entire crop was destroyed. No pumpkins, no mums, no tomatoes, no funky looking gords. Nothing.
Oh, I felt horrible that this farm had been so badly damaged. The fall season is such an important season for farmers and now they were faced with a major challenge. We asked where all of the pumpkins, mums, and veggies they had for sale were from. They informed us that they had purchased them from other local farms. She asked me if I was aware of the pumpkin shortage in our area and I realized that I had heard something about it, but hadn’t paid too much attention.
On a sidenote, I did some research when I returned home to get more details on the pumpkin crops in the state and the apparent shortage. An article in a The Hour stated that
Connecticut is the second largest pumpkin producer in New England, and harvests about 25 million pounds of the orange vegetable each year, according to Rick Macsuga, a spokesman for the state Department of Agriculture.
About 28 percent of Connecticut’s 658-acre pumpkin crop was wiped out by Irene, leaving local farmers with an estimated $1.6 million in retail losses, Macsuga said.
Wow, I didn’t realize Connecticut produced so many pumpkins!
Back to the Pickin’ Patch . . .
So, it seemed that my vision of us taking the kids out to the fields to pick out a perfect pumpkin wasn’t going to materialize at this location. I was dissapointed.
Then I realized that what I really should be focused on is helping support the local farmers who had received so much damage. We therefore decided to stock up on pumpkins and mums right here at the Pickin’ Patch.
We let Bruiser ride in the wagon while the rest of us went on a pumpkin search. There were plenty to choose from and we found two that we really liked.
Inside, there were lots of fun fall vegetables available for purchase.
We placed our purchases on the counter to pay (two pumpkins and 4 large mums).
The pumpkin was 65 cents a pound and we walked out of there paying about $44 for everything.
We loaded everyone back in the car and made our way home.
If you make this trip, I might suggest that on your way home, you stop off at a local coffee shop for some sweet treats (that is what I really wanted to do, but we didn’t have time) . . .
On a different day (full of crummy weather) I decided to make one such trip.
Shawna had suggested I check out a cute coffee place in Avon, so I headed that way (we thought it might be a good combo with this post since it was right near the Pickin’ Patch).
Unfortunately, I was flying solo that day with my two non-walkers and when I checked out the coffee shop, I realized it wasn’t handicap accessible (which meant it would be very challenging to get my double stroller in there). Bummer! I decided instead to head back to West Hartford, and visit a bakery in the design district that I have heard a lot about, the Hartford Baking Company. I was able to easily bring the double stroller loaded with both kiddos in the store. I was also able to load up on a cranberry scone, cappuccino, and some yummy bread.
I really wanted some olive bread (which I had tried before at a West Hartford event), but found out that bread is only available on Wednesdays (I’ll have to come back because it was really good). I decided to get some raisin walnut bread instead. It was delicious and I used it for some cheddar/apple grilled cheese sandwiches the following day. Check out their menu and weekly bread schedule here.
Don’t you just want one right now?
Anyways, so maybe your annual tradition of going pumpkin picking won’t be exactly the same this year and maybe you will need to go a little early to get your pumpkins, but I hope everyone will still get out there, support their local farmers, and help them in the wake of the Hurricane Irene crop damage. If your trip ends up being a little shorter than expected (because you don’t head out to the fields to pick your crop), then make it that much more fun by checking out a local coffee shop and get a nice hot drink on a chilly day!
The Pickin’ Patch
Information also available on their Facebook Page.
Between routes 44 and 185, on the Simsbury/Avon town line
Main Phone: 860-677-9552
Get directions here:
Operating Hours: Every day 9am – 6pm
Hartford Baking Company
625 New Park Avenue West Hartford, CT
Get directions here:
Main Phone: 860.570.1579
A stroller and/or infant carrier for non-walkers
Comfy clothes and shoes. Wagons are available for toting around purchases or even kids!
Check back later this week for more of our top picking picks. We’ll even throw in a few toddler-tested apple recipes that grown-ups will go ga-ga for.