At the Pumpkin Patch

Halloween past…

In the eighties and nineties, we might buy a pumpkin at the local shop and butcher a few gaping holes into it with the blunt bread knife. We would wonder what to do with the filling (that seemed no way appetizing) unaware that a few short decades later winter soup would happily include such a vegetable. We sat our single pumpkin outside and stuck in a candle. My husband talks about having a coconut at Halloween and everyone bashing away at the top to gain access to it. I had a toffee apple once or twice from Egan’s post office in Ferbane and a lovely memory of being there with my now deceased grand-aunt. Modern Ireland is full of traditions. Many are old (fruit brack)…some are new (calling the pookies trick or treat. Some just aren’t ours at all but we are latching on to them.We still haven’t reached pumpkin pie making in my house yet but we aren’t far off. (As far as I know pie filling is often gotten in tins stateside.) Talking of the US who go big at Halloween, we must admit here in Ireland that we are big old copy cats.

Who’s tradition is it anyway?

So to head to a pumpkin patch, pick a pumpkin and carve it up is a pretty new venture in my world. In today’s Ireland, gimmicks are everything and parents are desperate for another Sunday activity particularly after Ireland’s terrible show at the rugby. We are no different and off we went.

The patch we went to was called Mollie’s family farm in county Laois. A field full of pumpkins representing past, present and future (smashed up and rotted, ripe or green and growing) awaited us as did many other hopeful parents and their offspring ready to pick. For many, I saw the novelty was the draw and it was a nice morning to walk a muddy field in welly boots wearing autumnal shades. Not me of course, l forgot my plush scarf and bobbly hat but there you go. Missed a trick again.

Selecting takes minutes. We paid per pumpkin. Five euros for a little guy, 10 for a medium and fifteen for a biggie. Carving kits are available for three euros and a tent is open for the work to take place within.

A strangely out of season ice-cream van stood to one side with a rising queue uncaring of the chill lining up. My girls wangled two terribly-bad-for-you slushie type drinks out of their daddy naturally.

It was all over in forty minutes and home we went boasting a boot full of mud clad vegetables with faces.

Are we happy or are we a bit ripped off?

I do think it was nice to try.

I also think I could have gotten them in Super Valu for a euro apiece for the small ones. Cleaned already. No slushies.

Or maybe we did the right thing. Help out the little guy? It was definitely nice to get outdoors.

Every season brings its money making attractions and I must applaud the skill of the entrepreneur that makes this happen. A nice way for a farm to try something else in uncertain times.

It may not become our tradition but it’s fun to try new things. Or at least steal some one else’s tradition for a day and spend a lovely evening with your children carving and displaying the finished the product.

My youngest thoroughly enjoyed carving holes in pumpkin’s head.

11 thoughts on “At the Pumpkin Patch

  1. Oooh I didn’t know pumpkin patches were a thing in Ireland too. They seem to be massive here in North America, although they are not all real pumpkin patches! There is a lot across the street from us that turns into a pumpkin patch around this time of year. Some one brings piles of pumpkins and lays them out for people to walk around and choose one. They are not grown there…so I am not sure why everyone seems to like it!

    Buuut, whatever Ireland decides to copy from America, I don’t think that is a problem, I mean didn’t they copy Halloween from the Irish to start with?

    Liked by 1 person

  2. In the northern parts of N.Z. there are numerous pumpkin patches. Not for Halloween as they aren’t ready until nearing the end of summer March/April. It seems the world unfortunately does copy many American traditions and I think mainly for its commercial revenue.
    I’m not a big fan of Halloween. Maybe due to the fact we never celebrated it as kids. I think it became a “thing to do” in the 1990’s?
    I do love pumpkins solely for the pleasure of eating them.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Your American here, yes, pumpkin patches are mandatory. We paid far less, but, we also live where they grow. A fun after Halloween event is “pumpkin chucking” where you toss it as far as possible into a back field and then wait and see if you get your own pumpkin field next year.

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  4. Pumpkin chucking? Is that after it has rotted?

    I’ve never been to a pumpkin patch, not sure if I could handle the stress of the kids running off and demanding every pumpkin they see… they are hard enough with the pumpkins in morrisons. They would love it though, sounds like you had fun, despite the cold.

    I make pumpkin pie every year, but I’m the only one who really enjoys it..

    The kids love carving their pumpkins though,with help… good fun!

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  5. It seems everything is a photo-op now, right? The trip to the pumpkin patch–and I admit, I took photos of my kid, because I thought: he’s almost 10 and soon he’ll want nothing to do with me or a pumpkin patch outing! In the Midwest, growing up, it wasn’t the “thing” it is now. But this is our best weather season, here in the South, so it’s a good excuse to get out in it.

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  6. In Celtic Ireland, this was a time of slaughter and preserving meat for winter, as cattle were brought in for the winter. At Samhain then large bone fires were lit and it was traditional to take an ember home to light your home fire with this, the Irish carried these embers in turnip lanterns. Then when they emigrated to America, they took the tradition with them, but joy of joys discovered that hollowing out a pumpkin was a damned sight easier than breaking your hands trying to hollow out a turnip.

    Our children don’t know how lucky they are. Lol!

    Liked by 1 person

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