By Robin Stevenson
My family recently made a trip to a harvest festival at a local pumpkin farm. It was crazy busy but tons of fun for my girl (hayrides, haystacks to climb, farm animals and a “boo barn”) and I learned loads about pumpkins from Laura Hughes, who along with her husband, John, owns Springridge Farm in Milton, Ont.
Here are some of Hughes’ top tips for picking the perfect pumpkin.
1. Pick a firm, heavy pumpkin. Pass on any with any soft spots.
2. Never pick it up by its peduncle (that’s the name for the stem. Who knew?). It breaks off easily and you might lose your grip, and your pumpkin.
3. Pumpkins grow on their sides, so they are likely to have a flat spot. But if the rest is perfect, just place that side to the back.
4. Never store your pumpkin in the house. They need to stay nice and cold to last.
5. Don’t carve a pumpkin more than 10 days in advance of Halloween. Not only will it rot, chances are your local squirrels and raccoons will starting snacking on it.
With huge variety of pumpkins to choose from (3 for $20), we ended up choosing a peanut, Cinderella and white ghost pumpkin. Added to the three traditional orange ones we already had on our front stoop, my daughter still thinks we don’t have enough.
Now we just have to figure how we want to carve them…