It’s often said that dogs resemble their owners and that, vice-versa, we look like our pets. Can the same be said for people and the pumpkins they pick?
When we venture into a wide-open field of pumpkins, does the pumpkin choose us or do we choose the pumpkin? Let’s hit the pumpkin patch to look into the psychology of pumpkin picking as a family.
The history of the jack-o’-lantern is as unclear as a foggy October night. Some accounts point to English folklore and others to a Celtic tradition that represents and frightens off spirits like ghouls, goblins and fairies when they were feared most active at the end of the harvest and beginning of winter.
Instead of gourds, beets and turnips were carved and used as lanterns. In North America, pumpkins were always associated with the season (see: Thanksgiving) and first linked to Halloween in the U.S. during the 1860s.
Since the harvest is currently upon us and pumpkins are ripe for the picking, don’t even think about a Superstore grab-and-go. This hunt is all about the search, and the family daytrip to the pumpkin patch. Scouring an open field and seeking out a pumpkin at a farm can shed a whole new light on your family and how your clan changes as the years go by.
Why is sweet pea Suzie drawn to the cute baby pumpkins and why does brother John dart right for the largest on the lot? According to Robin Braun of KJM Country Gardens, age is an important factor among families and how each member chooses the perfect pumpkin.
“Kids like to challenge themselves as they get older,” said Braun. “All of a sudden they’ll aim straight for the biggest they can find and try to pick it up.”
Braun said the biggest pumpkin in their field weighs around 35 pounds. “Some people like the weirdest one possible, [such as] the green one. Like the Charlie Brown syndrome, people feel bad for the weird one or they spend the entire day searching for that perfectly round Cinderella pumpkin.”
Spending a day together as a family picking pumpkins can open your eyes to traits you never knew existed. Each family member leaves with a pumpkin that reflects a little bit of their personality.
For example, Braun explained how a family of six will leave with eight pumpkins. Instead of deciding as a family on one pumpkin, it is about individual preference so everyone gets to choose their own. Braun’s daily observations confirmed my assumption that size matters to some, but to others, supporting the underdog and expressing personal uniqueness matter most.
Let’s look at Vancouver’s pumpkin patches and farms:
Southlands Heritage Farm: A community farm that offers a rural retreat close to home. Entrance by donation, $5 per pumpkin
Address: 6767 Balaclava Street, Vancouver
Hours: Weekdays 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Weekends 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Activities and attractions: Horses, petting zoo, apple orchard. Group tours available.
KJM Country Gardens: Currently in its sixth year of operation, families can expect a selection of over 200 pumpkins on any given day. Entrance free, or $10 per child includes all attractions and a pumpkin. Pumpkins otherwise cost 0.49 cents per pound.
Address: 7226 Blenheim Street, Vancouver
Hours: 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. daily
Activities and attractions: Haunted house, animals including mini-horse, Pigmy goat, chickens and bunnies, group tours available.
Parents, when you make the trip this year, keenly observe the pumpkin selection process happening in your family. It may help decode certain personality traits and your understanding of each other. Families that pick together, carve together.
Stephanie Florian is always chasing her next adventure and plays with her family in the mountains and on the sea. Get in touch at Twitter.com/@PlayoutdoorsVan.
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