When I was a child, the Pumpkin Patch was definitely not a thing, certainly not in England anyway. Now, it seems to be a Fall staple, and despite making it six years into motherhood unscathed, last weekend I found myself on the obligatory Pumpkin Patch family outing. “What IS a Pumpkin Patch?” I asked my husband before we left. “It’s a big patch of pumpkins.” My daughter said. Thank you sweetie, I feel so much more prepared now.
On arrival at MacDonald’s Ranch we struggle to find a parking space because it turns out people really like pumpkins. I wonder if this would work for any other vegetables? I could make a killing opening the first ever (Twin) Pickle Patch… see what I did there? Patent pending. It’s $12 to get in… $12! There had better be one seriously impressive pumpkin in there. I can take the kids to Safeway for free and see a pretty decent selection, and I’m pretty sure they won’t mind if I rearrange them for a little photo shoot.
Still, the twins have a couple of weeks to go until their 1st birthday so they get in for free. I suddenly feel like we’ve nabbed ourselves a bargain and we head onwards into the realm of the Pumpkin Patch. I instantly see that my $12 is not just for viewing pumpkins, there’s a whole selection of activities – I’ve essentially walked into a pop-up theme park decorated with scarecrows. On that note, why are scarecrows a Fall thing? Don’t you need to fend off birds all year round?
My daughter is pretty pumped. Six years old is the perfect age to get your face painted, lasso/milk a fake cow, sift for gold, and play fairground games with prizes designed specifically to hurt when you stand on them the following day. I should point out, if you didn’t already know, we live in Arizona, USA. So if you live in Scunthorp, UK, you may be offered slightly different activities.
With a quick cheese toasty break we head on to the main attraction… The (actual) Pumpkin Patch. To encourage the air of suspense we are taken there on a hay covered trailer drawn by horses through the desert. I know, we’re totally rockin’ the wild west right now. The scenery is beautiful but I can’t help thinking “I’m pretty sure no pumpkins grow out here…”
Despite being late October, it is 95° outside and I’m starting to wish I had brought water with me. Who goes out to a desert Pumpkin Patch without water? Rookie error. As we come to a halt I see it… the famed Pumpkin Patch, set up in all it’s glory right here in the Arizona desert.
I figure we have about 15minutes before I pass out from dehydration, including catching the horse wagon back and sourcing suitable refreshments. I wanted my family Pumpkin Patch photo and I needed it quick, so we found the perfect spot beside a slightly deranged scarecrow and prepared the children. Elsie was on board, if you remember my post about the family photo shoot, she’s pretty reliable when it comes to striking a pose. The twins however had other ideas. George was bemused… “Why am I surrounded by large orange vegetables in the middle of the desert?” Arthur just went total melt-down…
Was it the feel of the hay? Was it the pumpkins themselves, or just the weird scarecrow with the plastic head? Who knows, but he was having none of it. Drinks required all round. We make a quick exit and headed back on the horse drawn trailer. Elsie was annoyed because she thought the tractor dressed as a train was a much cooler ride… make no presumptions about children.
We didn’t stay at the ranch much longer as we were starting to melt and frankly I felt like I had earned a Sunday afternoon beer. When I got back I couldn’t help but google, and sure enough there is an official title for the fear of pumpkins – cucurbitophia. The same word is used for the fear of all vegetables in the gourd family. What is a gourd I thought? Google strikes again. Gourds are ‘chiefly herbaceous tendril-bearing vines including the cucumber, melon, squash, and pumpkin’. So unfortunately (Twin) Pickle Patch can not be marketed to sufferers of cucurbitophia… bummer, it was a genius niche market opportunity.