Pumpkin picking a Columbus Day tradition for WMass families

Some mothers were hoping to start this tradition with their young children.

SOUTH HADLEY, Mass. (WWLP) – Vibrant foliage and sunny warm weather beckoned families to spend their Columbus Day outdoors, but that quintessential New England day in autumn was incomplete: They needed their pumpkins, and photos taken with them.

“What makes the perfect pumpkin?” we asked four-year-old Charlotte Maciolek. She said, “Like, it’s sometimes, it’s big or it’s small. I like the little ones!” She explained finding the perfect pumpkin isn’t as easy as just picking one off a shelf. It’s about the whole experience. For many families at McCray’s Farm in South Hadley, that included a hay ride to the pumpkin patch where they could pick their pumpkin right from the ground.

“”We’ve been doing it for years. It’s a tradition…it’s affordable. It costs us 9 dollars. There’s five of us to get on the hay ride and it’s a good time and we support local activities,” said Thomas Kiebania of Chicopee who was there with his wife and children.

Some mothers were hoping to start this tradition with their young children. “We’re meeting some other friends here but we expected it to be busy, but we’ve never been able to come on Columbus Day because we’re always away,” Falon Johnson of Belchertown told 22News.

The Callahans treated their granddaughter Peyson to a day at the farm. “Out in the fresh air and having this ride, and Peyson already saw some of the animals. She got a big kick out of them,” said Gene Callahan, in reference to the many farm animals children can feed at McCray’s.

All of those people meant big business for local farms. McCray’s employees told 22News this was one of the busiest weekends of the year, especially when Columbus Day has beautiful weather like it did this year. Workers at Barstow’s Longview Farm in Hadley spent their Monday morning restocking the pumpkin supply after a nonstop day of business Sunday.

“There was people parked down the street, the parking lot was full, our back parking lot people were parking in. It was insane, but it was really cool,” said Kaylee Roberts, an employee at Barstow’s.

This year’s crop didn’t disappoint: Customers were very pleased with the amount of big pumpkins from which they could choose.

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