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The Perfect Pick: Tips for Apple and Pumpkin Picking

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By Rachel Derry
Staff Writer LIFamilies

Looking to go on a little adventure right here on the Island? Now is the time to take advantage of local produce by getting your family and yourself right on out into the fields. The middle to the end of September is the perfect time for apple picking, and the end of September through October is the perfect time to go scavenge the fields for the perfect pumpkins. If this will be your first time around for either here are a couple tips to help you out along the way.

For apple picking:
Make sure to call the farms that you are interested in ahead of time. You will definitely want to make sure that the apples are ripe to pick and that there are still some left on the trees. Also make sure to ask the conditions of the fields, due to recent weather. What may have been a little rain at home may have left the apple fields muddy. If you know the conditions a head of time you know exactly how to prepare.

When you arrive at the field you’ll want to pick the proper fruit. Make sure to aim for the apples on the outer branched: not only do they ripen faster, but they’re also easier to grab. When picking, don’t just pull down the fruit. You should lift the apple and twist; this will separate the stem from the tree branch. You will also want to make sure to take care of the field; remember to take all fallen items and belongings out of the field with you and make sure to teach your children to have care with the trees.

For pumpkin picking:
Same as with the apple picking, you may want to call ahead to see what the conditions are like in the pumpkin patch; pumpkins grow in dirt fields so after a little rain the patches turn into mud playgrounds. You also will want to do a little research on the patches that you are looking at going to. Many u-pick pumpkin patches are grassy fields with pumpkins laid out and activities for your family. These are great family locations to spend an afternoon, but they will not have pumpkins on the vine, it that’s what you’re looking for.

When you are going through the fields, make sure to take a little care and caution. Because pumpkins do grow on vines, there will be plenty of vines and pumpkins on the ground to trip over. Watch that you, your children, and your carts don’t get tangled up. Also, be sure to teach any children with you pumpkin safety: tell them to be wary of picking up pumpkins too large for them or by their stems. Dropped pumpkins aren’t just bad for the farm; they’re also very bad for the little toes that they were dropped on.

In either case, pumpkin or apple picking, you will want to make sure to dress warm, in layers of clothing that you won’t mind getting dirty. It may feel like a warm, fall day, but the temperatures drop quickly once you’re in an open field with a breeze. In both cases you may also want to bring baskets, carts, or wheel barrels to carry your produce in. Chances are good that the farms will have them to lend you, but it’s better to be over prepared than under!

Long Island Family Life & Parenting Articles > The Perfect Pick: Tips for Apple and Pumpkin Picking

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