Mom, where do pumpkins come from?

I grew up in New Hampshire with a big yard which my father had planted a garden and fruit trees in.  So I knew exactly where pumpkins came from.  Amazingly, lots of kids today do not.  Ask them where they get pumpkins, and they will answer either the store or the pumpkin patch.  Don’t think that the pumpkin patch is the right answer though.  Press them further and you will find out that the “pumpkin patch” is actually a parking lot with rides, bales of hay, perhaps a small petting zoo, and pumpkins lined up in rows on the pavement.  Um, hate to break it to you, but that is not where pumpkins are actually from.

I brought Beck to one of these “pumpkin patches” last year, and I will probably continue to do so.  They are fun, cheap entertainment.  I am also going to bring him to a real farm though.  As an adult you assume everyone knows that fruits and vegetables come from plants that grow in the ground.  But kids only know what they have seen.  If all of their food comes from a supermarket or a drive-thru, how are they supposed to know that beans really come from beanstalks that a farmer worked very hard to grow, and not just from a can?

If you have kids, bring them to a farm so they can appreciate where food really comes from.  Growing even a few edible plants in a container on your patio helps.  Fall is such a wonderful time to visit farms.  Go apple picking.  Dig up carrots.  Count all the different kinds of squashes.  Visit a real pumpkin patch.  Even if you don’t have kids this is a fun thing to do.

For those of you who live in Orange County, CA, South Coast Farms in San Juan Capistrano is having a Harvest Celebration every weekend in October.  Pick pumpkins, have apple cider, do crafts, visit the chickens and bunnies, and climb up on the old tractors.  We are going to try to go this weekend.  Tanaka Farms in Irvine has wagon rides around their farm in October.  At the end you get to get out and pick a few veggies to take home and you can buy pumpkins.  I have heard that the springtime strawberry tour is better, but I haven’t been on it so I can’t say for myself.

Everyone else, do a little searching and find a farm near you to visit.

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