How To Pick a Pumpkin
Oct 01, 2022, Updated Jun 07, 2023
This post may contain affiliate links. Please read our disclosure policy.
From pies to porch decorations to spiced lattes, we love pumpkin season! If it’s about time for the annual pumpkin patch pilgrimage, your kids will be on the lookout for gorgeous gourds and perfect pumpkins to take home. But do you know how to pick a pumpkin? Sarah Frey, founder of Frey Farms and Sarah’s Homegrown, has some tips to make sure you bring home the pick of the patch!
Start by looking at the stem of the pumpkin. The greener the stem, the fresher the pumpkin! A fresh pumpkin will last longer on your porch – even when it’s been hollowed out and turned into a fun Jack-O-Lantern. It also makes for a fresher ingredient in your fall recipes. Look for a stem that’s been cleanly cut off from the vine and that you can get your entire hand around.
Not every pumpkin is perfectly shaped. It’s very common for pumpkins to have visual imperfections due to the way they grew. Because they grow on the ground, some pumpkins develop indentations by laying on their long vines. Check around the pumpkin for any large indentations in the surface.
A pumpkin shouldn’t start out hollow. You’ll take care of that part yourself! Make sure your pumpkin is nice and heavy for its size. The surface should be solid with no soft spots.
If you’re planning to carve jack o’ lanterns, look for pumpkins with smoother skin. Bumps and ridges will make them more difficult to carve. Some varieties grow with deep, heavy ridges. While they’re beautiful and make for great decoration, they’re also harder to carve.
If there’s one thing Sarah Frey knows, it’s how to pick a pumpkin! But that’s just one of her many agricultural skills. She founded Frey Farms with the fields she grew up on in southern Illinois. Today it grows many different fruits and vegetables in seven states, but Frey Farms is still best known for its pumpkins. In addition to Frey Farms, Sarah has also founded Tsamma™ Watermelon Juice and is the United Fresh Women In Produce’s 2020 Honoree.
Want to hear more from Sarah Frey? Listen to Episode 113 of The Produce Moms Podcast, in which she joins us to tell her story and talk about the innovation of Frey Farms!
Pumpkin picking is one of our favorite fall traditions at The Produce Moms. Whether it’s their first time learning how to pick a pumpkin or they’re practically little farmhands, pumpkin picking is always a hit with kids. How was your adventure at the pumpkin patch? Share your pumpkin picking pics with us on Instagram @theproducemoms and @sarahshomegrown.