Fall Pumpkin Picking Tips


    Last weekend, I had the pleasure of taking the family to visit Prospect Hill Orchards in the beautiful Hudson Valley in New York State.  You can pick your own apples, pears and pumpkins there and it is very family-friendly.


    We’ve never been pumpkin picking before so we were very excited to see all of the different pumpkin varieties and to decide on just the right ones for our Fall and Halloween decor.


The truth is that I knew very little about picking just the right pumpkins before we set out on our adventure.  I did a little research to find out how to pick a pumpkin prior to heading out.


    Many of you will probably be picking or purchasing your own pumpkins now that we are heading into the month of October and the season for Halloween.  I figured you could probably use some pumpkin picking tips too.


Here is what I learned about picking the right pumpkin:

  • It is much better to pick your own pumpkin at a pumpkin patch than purchasing one at the store.  The obvious reason for that is that you can be assured that you are getting one that is fresh.
  • The best pumpkins are the ones that have a bright, orange color without mold, mushy spots, bruises, dents, or scratches.
  • Unripened pumpkins last longer so it is important to knock on the shell because ripe pumpkins will make a hollow sound when you do so.
  • When picking pumpkins directly from the vine, make sure it is attached with a stem and that both the vine and the stem are dry and brown.
  • The condition of the pumpkin’s stem determines how fresh the pumpkin is and shouldn’t be shriveled or crumbly.
  • Never grab a pumpkin by its stem.  It could rip off due to the weight of the pumpkin and will cause it to rot very quickly.


    If you visit a farm like Prospect Hill Orchards, they usually have a big selection of other Fall veggies like gourds and squash.  You can add those to your pumpkin collection for a fun Fall display.


    In the end, you will be very happy that you shared this Fall rite of passage with you children and loved ones.  They will treasure these precious memories for years to come!


Let’s Discuss:  What are you planning to use pumpkins for this Fall season?

© 2014, Tough Cookie Mommy. All rights reserved.


  1. I never knew that you weren’t supposed to pick it up by the stem. I always do!

  2. My kids are going to a pumpkin patch next Sunday. I’ll have to let them know how to pick out a good one!

  3. Awe, your kids look so sweet! I have to plan a pumpkin patch trip for my son. He saw some pumpkins at the grocery store today and couldn’t stop talking about how he wants to go to the pumpkin farm!

  4. That looks amazing!!! I wish we had something like that in our area; I would love to go and pick my own squash!

  5. April @ Everyday Fitness and N says

    I always loved going to the pumpkin patch and picking pumpkins with my girls. There were always great photo opportunities.

  6. I love the idea of pumpkin picking it isn’t something we do over here – but it always sounds such fun! x

  7. Lesley Stevens says

    What a beautiful family you have, such great pictures! I want to take my kids to the pumpkin patch this year, hopefully we’ll get around to it before October ends.

  8. TouristMeetsTraveler says

    It`s been awhile since I`ve been pumpkin picking, I`ll need to take my granddaughter this year!

  9. Pumpkin patches is one of our fall family traditions! 🙂 We have always really enjoyed it!

  10. These are great tips! I only knew a few of them but I will remember these when we go pumpkin picking in a few weeks!

  11. I plan to use pumpkin for tons of dishes both sweet and savory. I also plan to use them for decorations! Everywhere! lol I love pumpkins.

  12. Thanks for the great pumpkin picking tips! Your post reminded me of how much I love spagetti squash, so glad it’s back in season now.

  13. These are great tips. We always buy ours from a local church, but I would love to actually pick them in person.

  14. I do love pumpkins. They are beautiful vegetables and they can be used in such diverse ways. Nutritious too!

  15. Good tips. I am looking forward to going pumpkin picking this Fall. My daughter has her heart set on carving some this year.

  16. That looks like you had a fun day. We use to take our kids pumpkin picking when they were little and they would have a great day. Usually the farms had other activities for them to do also. I have grown pumpkins off and on over the years. If you have the right soil, it is so easy to do.

    These are great tips for picking pumpkins!

  17. Love the pictures. We love going to our local pumpkin patch! It’s such a great fun, family activity. You are outside together, enjoying all of natures bounty. We’ll carve some pumpkins, cook some and give some of our own homegrown pumpkins away this year.

  18. Chrissy Mazzocchi says

    These are great tips, I always have trouble finding the right one! I wish they’d last longer so I can get one today 🙂

  19. Love Picking pumpkins! So much fun for everyone, my litle girl will be going with her K class this week

  20. Rebecca Bryant says

    You know i’ve never been to a pumpkin patch nr has my son I think I smell an adventure coming on.

  21. Melissa Vera says

    Thank you so much for these tips. My girls work at pumpkin patch so I knew most of these tips but thank you for sharing

  22. haha so much pumpkins and they are soo soo cute! thanks for the tips.

  23. Alexandra Young says

    Thanks for the tips! We are going pumpkin picking next weekend so it is good to have tips!

  24. I’ve never been pumpkin picking, and I don’t know of anywhere near here where you can pick-your-own, but I appreciate your tips and will keep them in mind when I’m choosing a pumpkin at the market. Love your pictures! I can’t wait to start cooking all those delicious winter squash.

  25. Wow, didn’t know there was so much to pumpkin picking! Will definitely keep these in mind when we go to our local pumpkin patch. I usually buy one big pumpkin for our front entry, but I love the idea of little gourds to use for decoration in our living and dining rooms.

  26. melissa george says

    i enjoyed reading all the tips and i dint know that one should never pick up a pumpkin by its stem. we always buy them by looking at the outerside of the pumpkin and find that its rotten form inside.

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