This, more-or-less, is how the convo went on one of my Whats App mumsing groups yesterday:
‘Any one want to join me this afternoon? I’m going to Crockford Pumpkin Patch.’
‘Crockford What..? Pumpkin Patch…? What is it?’
‘It’s a pumpkin patch.’
There later followed a gloriously colourful photo from the Mum in question; her daughter, snug in hat and rainbow wellies, nestled in amongst these huge orange veggies, clutching a mini pumpkin, and grinning from ear to ear.
So, let the wild speculation end: Crockford Pumpkin Patch is definitely a pumpkin patch.
Before you write that off as ‘no biggie’ and draw up plans to brave soft play yet again this half term, remember: you are not a toddler. Do not underestimate the joy they can get from a huge, round, orange vegetable (not to mention the joy you might get from not being stuck in another stuffy leisure centre for two hours)
With this in mind, we followed my friend’s tip-off and headed to Crockford Pumpkin Patch this afternoon.. and (at risk of sounding like David Cameron) it was absolutely swarming with small children enjoying themselves. Aside from the pumpkins in question, there are two slides, with wooden steps and housing, one with a little play house up on it’s top level too. Although this is the larger of the two, it’s actually better for younger children, as there’s plenty of room for parents to assist tots to the top, and help them onto the slide itself (though unfortunately this did not stop two little rascals from practically clambering over Eva to cut into the queue as I was helping her on to it. Tsk.) And there is more slide at the bottom for them to decelerate!
There was a barrel set up for apple-bobbing and, although this attracted minimal attention from older kids, it was a particular hit with Eva and other little ones. Once I’d discouraged her from simply grabbing the apples and trying to eat them, she discovered that scooping them up and letting them drop into the water with a theatrical flourish was even more fun. It tickled me to watch her gazing around solemnly with her arms raised, as if expecting applause after each ‘SPLASH’ ..though we were too busy checking she hadn’t traumatised any children caught in the fall-out!
There was also a wigwam with a witch and bats hanging inside. A fun place for older children to hide, but we were a mite underwhelmed and had the most excitement clambering over the little bridge to get there (It’s all about the journey, folks). Elsewhere, we spied some impressively painted faces, met a friendly, hoop-wielding Cowboy and Princess and snaffled some hot drinks and crisps. We also made note of the tasty-looking ‘I-Scream’ parlour for future reference! After all this fun, we were a little too late for the free range BBQ stand, which looked to be dishing out some hot-diggedy-dawg goodness! I’m not sure how well veggies were catered for here but bear in mind this set-up is directly next to a Wyevale Garden Centre with restaurant and Farm Shop attached, so there are options. There is also baby changing in this Garden Centre, and some serviceable portaloos nearer to the Pumpkin Madness itself (though no baby change in the latter, understandably).
And at last we investigated the pumpkins. There was a lovely big jumble of them to admire or buy (prices written on the base), and this section was thronged with people when we arrived. As the place quietened we tried again and Eva really loved examining these veggies, free of the threat of being trampled (and, endearingly, pointing and exclaiming ‘Ap-puh!!’ at the green ones. Er, no, I wouldn’t advise biting into one of those raw, Eva!). There were also white pumpkins in amongst this sea of warm orange, so I bought a little cheap one to try sculpting into a skull. Yes, I am starting to succumb to the ‘Big Deal’ Halloween that seems to be creeping over here courtesy of the States (At this rate, not having chocolate ready for the Trick-or-Treaters will be punishable by firing squad within the decade). As if there isn’t enough to think about with Christmas looming! Anyway, results of this endeavour may or may not make it on to the blog dependent upon success level!
I’d be lying if I said I didn’t leave The Pumpkin Patch fantasising about the world’s biggest, warmest, most cinnamoney (<- no, that isn’t a word, but who cares!) pumpkin pie. Hell, that’s one import from the States that you won’t catch this Mum complaining about!
For the record, there’s a few bits to entertain older kids – a test-your-strength machine, a zip-slide and a mysterious ‘fantasy’ play in the grounds ( for tickets, see website). There is also a small pumpkin carving area where some children were hard at work on their creations. I think the real pleasure to be had here, though, is just from watching simple things (and, yes, mostly simple orange things!) delight your Little Person.
This afternoon of amusement cost us the princely sum of £2 entry (under twos – and over 100s – go free) and continues for the next week.
Footnote: this is not the only Autumnal pleasure to be had this weekend. If you have a yearly pass for RHS Wisley (one of the best purchases I have made post-Eva) then it will come up trumps for you once again tomorrow, as they also have pumpkins on display, and a few stalls that could help you make some inroads into that looming christmas present list. (think chocolate liquor, craft beers, etc) Plus fresh apple pressing, and a display of quite the most astonishingly large vegetables I have ever seen.
But tomorrow (23/10/16) is the final day of their ‘Taste of Autumn’ event, so hurry-hurry-hurry if you like the sound of it!
Happy Weekend and Half Term, everybody. And everypumpkin for that matter..