I know for most people, Christmas is the most wonderful time of the year. Unpopular opinion, but I believe as an Autumn baby, Autumn is my most wonderful time of the year.
There’s something specially welcoming when summer falls, as the sun allows itself to set back, which enhances natures truest form of glistening beauty. Just like spring when flowers bloom, berries rise, sparkling in the autumnal morning sunrise against the mist of the hills. The buoyant warmth of the scarlet orange and golden leafs dance between the falling of the tree to blanket the once dull grey pavement, we can hear and feel the crunch and rustle under our feet. You find yourself inhaling more of the crisp brisk breeze, and feeling thankful more than you ever have done for a lungs worth of freshness of the air since COVID19 Lockdown. Often the damp woody smoked aroma floats, a smell that lingers over the woodland, a warming scent of tenderness. Even in the autumn rain, there’s beauty in the greying clouds as the raindrops gently glitters amongst the golden hues.
But the one thing I genuinely get excited for, not just the autumnal fashion but the truest identity marker of autumn is, Pumpkins.
Pumpkin picking, glowing pumpkins that line a pathway of doors, Pumpkin Spiced Lattes, Pumpkin pies and Pumpkin soups.
During the Pandemic of COVID, I think it’s fair to say the awareness of importance of shopping and supporting local produce has risen. And we found ourselves searching for a local pumpkin patch to take the children too, instead of rushing out to the supermarket as a last minute resort for a fanatical purchase of pumpkins!
We came across Overstone Grange Farm, which is a working family farm in Northampton, just short of a 20 minute drive. Upon arrival we are met with smiling faces guiding us to a available parking space. Our first visit was 4th October, which was a day after the ‘Pick your own’ experience opened to public. It was a rainy day, with a heavily thick blanket of grey fluffy clouds that floated above. Due to being a working farm, your wellies are a saviour from the muddy grounds and wet puddles. But as you all know, no amount of rainfall or muddy adventures would ever stop us!
COVID safety guidelines are all in place approaching the wheel barrows, you have to check in on your NHS app, with hand sanitisers available if you’ve forgotten your own. The wheel barrows in return from fellow pumpkin seekers are washed down and disinfectant, ready for the new hands of seekers. All staff are incredibly friendly and welcoming. Greeting children and asking them questions towards their visit. Within a blink of an eye, our youngest Parker had dashed towards the enticing field, array of orange hues.
The Pumpkin Patch is laid out over a large space of field. Even for an adult it was overwhelmingly exciting to search across for the perfect pumpkin. Not to mention the fact it was incredibly ‘insta’ worthy. The children enjoyed every aspect of searching the field for their chosen one. The twisting twines are bound to give you a little trip or two if you’re not careful causing outburst of giggles from the trio. And of course out of all of us, our Luka-James was the first to fall in the mud, squealing of hysterical laughter. Isn’t that exactly what Family Sunday’s are about! The trials and tribulations of a family day out.
The 5 acres of field boosts 9 different varieties of pumpkins and squashes to choose from. There’s enough pumpkins to satisfy your hearts content. And in my own opinion, I think they’re incredibly reasonably priced too!
But what I really did find incredibly touching was the Farm has thought of our SEN community. They’ve mindfully and kindly allocated SEN/Quiet time slots, there’s no need to book, but they’ve asked for the public to be respectful of these timings and if you can attend at the appropriate time. On the 4th October, we attended the SEN allocated slot of our daughter. Who has a complexity of SENDs, along with deafness. She can become very overwhelmed and distressed in the hustle of an overcrowded environment. Not only that she cannot focus on lip reading and her only way of expressing herself and her feelings of anxiety and fear is through screaming or crying. Which then can mean the public look at us and this heightens the behaviour more.
On arrival there was just 4 families, due to the space of fields we was able to successfully avoid the other families and go about our adventure without any hiccups.
Not only, to our surprise, there is more to your day than just Pumkin picking. There is a maze of hay bales, which then lead on to a mini assault course. Which each of the trio enjoyed tackling, and dare I say, myself and dad released our inner child and fought against one another at it! In this case, we got muddier than ever and the extra wash load was worth every single laughter from our family.
If your child has sensory seeking behaviours, or enjoys exploring textures, the farm has every single need of those covered, from the mud and puddles to the pumpkins, hay bales and tractor wheels full of sand with buckets and spades provided!! (Bring your own hand sanitiser if you want to keep Covid safe)
Now let’s talk refreshments, it was a chilly rainy day, we all lean towards hot drinks to warm ourselves up. The refreshments offerings was wide and all sounded absolutely delicious. The children had chocolate baby chinos, white hot chocolate with coconut syrup for dad and a caramel hot chocolate for myself, not forgetting a ghost cookie for the children and it all came to a reasonable price of just under £13 and resulted in 5 empty cups, warm belly’s with smiles! In the words of Luka-James, ‘it was actually banging’.
The farm has free parking and free entry, which I was incredibly shocked by, from the experience we had, we would have happily paid parking, knowing the funds are put back into the farm. But this means the accessibility for all families across the community who may, or may not have been harshly affected by the effects of COVID, can enjoy and create memories at this wonderful family farm. The pumpkins are so reasonably priced, there’s a size and price that can cater to all. I found this aspect absolutely beautifully thought of, whether it was intentional or not.
Payments, the farm take card as well as cash, so fear not if you, like me always forget to carry your purse and solely rely on Apple Pay! I really must make this my New Year’s Goal, REMEMBER MY PURSE!
The Overstone’s family are very welcoming, upon paying for our pumpkins the staff are cheerfully chatty which make your visit even more delightful and leaves you wanting to return. I explained about my daughters deafness on two occasions and the lady on refreshments really went above and beyond to try to communicate with Livy, as a parent of SEN, I’m sure this simple act of kindness can touch a fair few hearts. Even the lady on payments was just as lovely and really took her time with Livy who was bouncing of excitement and waving, the lady engaged all children to select the pumpkins into the holes that have allocated prices. Talking about Halloween and what they’ll be doing. Meanwhile they also have a charity fundraiser going on, just guess the weight of the huge pumpkin! Dad being the overly competitive sports man he is, was lifting the pumpkin and was taking a good sheer amount of deliberating time to guess. I’m sure his ego will be dented if he loses haha!!
We really did have the best time exploring some place new. And it certainly didn’t disappoint the trio of high expectations of days out! We will most definitely be back for the Christmas Tree Experience. And No doubt be back for another Pumpkin experience in the next coming weeks! It was honesty that good!
As stated on their website, there are safety measures you need to take and be mindful of when visiting.
‘The pumpkin patch is a field! Please come prepared for mud and uneven ground and take care. We are a working farm. Please look out for tractors, trailers etc and do not wander the farm. it could be dangerous.’