I shouldn’t complain about a swelteringly hot summer, but I’m British and therefore complaining about the weather is a national sport. Therefore, the sight of the weather forecast not hitting above 14 degrees was the sure sign that iced lattes and beach reads should be replaced by hot chocolates and fantasy novels, then scarves and jumpers can be brought out of hibernation and feet can be securely hidden in boots until April. Along with this, it seemed the perfect opportunity to venture into the countryside one brisk October morning to pick our very own squash and pumpkins!
Beluncle Farm’s PYO Pumpkins in Hoo, Kent promised us field upon field of pumpkin and squash of all shapes and sizes, along with the promise of hot chocolate once we had completed our pumpkin picking. With no need to book tickets or a time slot, we merrily headed off on Sunday morning, armed with wellies, scarves and bobble hats, to really embrace the new Autumnal season.
Beluncle Farm is perfectly organised for adventurous pumpkin pickers, we parked up, donned our wellies (a must for traipsing through fields of spiky pumpkin stalks) and grabbed a couple of wheelbarrows. There’s no charge to enter the fields, just for the pumpkins you take home (between £1 and £5 each I think) and a percentage of the profits goes towards Crohn’s and Colitis UK, so you’re safe in the knowledge that your fun day exploring is also helping people.
The fields are teeming with orange carving pumpkins, from the obscenely huge to the preposterously tiny. The dots of orange stretch as far as you can see, occasionally bordered by rows and rows of colourful corn on the cob.
We spent ages chopping and changing our minds as we chose our pumpkins. Were we after a huge rounded one, a tall skinny one or something in-between? There was almost too much choice and we all ended up more pumpkins than we knew what to do with.
Anyone who lives or works in a city will understand the sudden claustrophobia that can take over when your horizon hasn’t been further away than next door’s brick wall for months on end. The natural antidote is a trip down the motorway into the Kent countryside, where the view spans miles and is speckled with the warm colours of autumn.
I’ve got a whole load of pumpkin based recipes I want to try out with my new haul of pumpkins, and if that all goes horribly wrong then my home will be the most autumnal abode you could imagine for the foreseeable future. If you get a chance to pick your own pumpkins then definitely go along, it’s a great way to get outdoors on a brisk blustery day!