Yes, you can buy a pumpkin at your local grocery store. But disemboweling and carving your annual Jack-o-Lantern is so much more satisfying when you’ve picked that pumpkin yourself. We’ve rounded up some of the best spots in and around the five boroughs where you can get your hands dirty by browsing for prey – err, pumpkins, on an actual farm.
Queens County Farm Museum (73-50 Little Neck Parkway) is where it’s at. It’s a historical colonial farmhouse with 47 acres of sustainable lands, plus educational programs and tours. It’s NYC’s largest tract of undisturbed farmland, and they’ve got a massive corn maze and a haunted house. But you’re here for the pumpkins, and you’ll get to maneuver your way through their patch to find your perfect one.
The other farm located within the five boroughs, Decker Farm (435 Richmond Hill Road, Staten Island) is spread across 11 acres, with a farmhouse and two barns. It’s NYC’s oldest continuously working family-style farm, and was officially designated a landmark in 1967. Pumpkin-picking weekends go on all month long (except Oct. 10) from 11 a.m. through 4 p.m. Their pumpkin patch farm costs $6 to enter and consists of a cornstalk maze, arts and crafts, and face painting. To get there, take the S74 bus from the ferry to Richmond Road and St. Patrick’s Place.
Stuart’s Fruit Farm (62 Granite Springs Road, Granite Springs) has been family operated since 1828, so know that your sinister squashes were grown with love. It’s only an hour from the city; after you’ve tired yourself in the quest for the perfect pumpkin, they also have delicious apple cider doughnuts, which everyone knows is a fall requisite. Plus, of course, their weekend hayride around the orchard, which is not to be missed. Grab a picnic with your crew to enjoy the fall foliage before you head back into the city limits.
The produce at Amawalk Farm (42 Wood St., Katonah) produce is all organic, the only certified grower in Westchester County, and grown sustainably across their 32 acres. They’ve got an 1825 farm house and their land’s been farmed since the early 1800s. They’ve got a tractor-pulled hayride, and pumpkins through mid-October. They’re open on Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sundays from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m.
Every weekend in September and October, Harvest Moon Farm and Orchard (130 Hardscrabble Road, North Salem) holds its Fall Festival. This includes all the fall goodies: hayrides, apple picking, pumpkin picking and a barbecue, with tickets costing just $5. This goes down from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays, and also includes live music, a bounce house, apple cannons, freshly made apple cider doughnuts and visits with farm animals. Does it get better? It does: In addition to their pumpkins, there’s tastings of wine and their own Hardscrabble Cider. Who wants to get tipsy and then pick some pumpkins? We know we do.