Ultimate Guide to Apple and Pumpkin Picking

How (and where) to take full advantage of the classic flavors of the season

Photo Pumpkins Modified: Flickr/ Rich Bowen/ CC4.0

Who doesn't love pumpkin picking?

PUMPKINS

Aladdin- The Aladdin pumpkin is the classic choice for a carving party. With its giant, round shape and long-lasting quality, this pumpkin is the standard jack o’ lantern option. The best part comes after you’ve created your spooky lawn decorations. Take your leftovers and whip up a quick and easy dish of pumpkin-filled pasta.

Baby Bear- With a pint-sized name, Baby Bear pumpkins are a great size and shape for all kinds of fun. Cut the outer shell in two pieces, scoop out the innards, and you’ve got a decorative soup bowl that’s perfect for the holiday season. Need a snack for the little ones? Baby Bear’s semi-hull-less seeds taste delicious after a good roasting with some fresh spices. Eat them plain or go all out and create this pumpkin seed, feta, and champagne grapes salad.

Baby Pam Sugar Pie- With a taste as sweet as its name, Baby Pam Sugar Pie has a dry skin that actually holds itself together during the baking process. Perfect for pumpkin pies, picking these sets you up for trying Bobby Flay’s pumpkin pie with cinnamon crunch and bourbon maple whipped cream. (Photo courtesy of Flickr/B0nes)

Howden- If you’re ready to super-size the holidays already, the Howden pumpkin is the way to go. A large, bright orange variety with a firm outer shell and large, even ridges, this pumpkin is perfect for carving contests. Check out these tips to host an unforgettable pumpkin carving party.

PATCHES

Ring in autumn with a trip to your local pumpkin patch and some farm-time fun. With activities for the whole family, including petting zoos, hayrides, and killer country views, these farms across America serve up a classic taste of fall. Here are our picks for your next pumpkin patch adventure…

Mr. Bones Pumpkin Patch — California

Sitting in celeb-heavy West Hollywood, this pumpkin patch is perfect for kids and star-sightings. Mr. Bones Pumpkin Patch has every detail covered — zoom down the Mr. Bones super slide and land right next to the Jumpin Pumpin, an inflatable giant pumpkin the kids can bounce on for hours. Race your friends out of the straw maze, let the kids get colorful face painting, and there are even pony rides. Setting the gold standard in pumpkin picking, Mr. Bones will leave you wishing for an extra month of autumn.

Plumper Pumpkin Patch & Tree Farm — Oregon

Plumper Pumpkin Patch (say that five times fast!) adds an extra step to their picking options. Pick up your “whopper lopper” and race down to the pumpkin patch, where you can cut your favorite right from the vine. Or sign up for the pumpkin flinging contest, where you can compete against other visitors or use the giant cannon. Maybe you’ll even be inspired to join a Punkin Chunkin competition next year!

Thistleberry Farm — Indiana

For a swashbuckling pumpkin adventure, make your way through the “Pirates of the Cornibbean” corn maze at Thistleberry Farm. After you race against the clock, watch your little ones ride in style on the cow train, stop by the petting zoo, or choose a family-friendly hayride, which gives you a leisurely view of the entire farm.

Swan’s Pumpkin Farm — Wisconsin

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Get into the Halloween spirit at Swan’s Pumpkin Farm, where you’ll wander through Wanda’s Spook House, but beware! You never know what, (or who!) is waiting around the corner. Then, stroll through Corn City and ride through the cornfields on the barrel train ride. Enjoy the harvest time with some freshly baked goods, like a classic slice of pumpkin pie, from The Cauldron Café.