For my family, October always meant a trip to Jones Family Farms so that all of the kids could pick out the perfect pumpkin to carve for Halloween, so I decided to go back as an adult to write up a review.
It’s very important that you realize that Jones Farms is actually three separate locations, and that each location grows a different combination of crops. The pumpkin patch is located at the Pumpkinseed Hill Farm (120 Beardsley Road, Shelton). Keep this in mind so that you don’t have to backtrack through the winding hills, which can get pretty backed up with traffic.
According to a staff member that I ambushed in between her taking care of customers, the farm grows 50 types of gourds, pumpkins, and fall squash, split pretty evenly between pumpkins and squash (around 25 of each variety). And apparently they try out new varieties every year, so you’ll often find stuff you haven’t seen before.
You’ll find pumpkins all around the farm: some in neat rows in the dirt, others a short walk away in the pumpkin patch, and others yet set up in display bins for ease-of-access. For families with kids, this is where you’ll probably spend the bulk of your pumpkin time—helping your child find (and carry) the perfect pumpkin. Just be weary of bees, which as a part of nature do tend to be near farmland.
To be honest with you, I’m a much bigger fan of the freaky looking gourds and heirloom pumpkin varieties than I am of your typical orange squash, so I was quickly enthralled by the dozens of varieties available. Standard orange pumpkins can be bought at the grocery store; freaky gourds can’t be.
My harvest, below, included the large, disc-shaped “Cinderella” pumpkin, the white-fleshed and tentacled “Ghost” pumpkin, a number of gourds, and a hard squash with a name like “Swan’s neck” (or some such; I forget exactly what it was called).
They also sell dried Indian corn (my baby bunch was one of the few offerings available when I went) and green corn stalks, if you like to incorporate those things into your Fall decorating. Pumpkins and gourds cost between $1.50 (for the smallest pumpkins and gourds) to around $20 (for the largest). The odd varieties cost more, because of the extra work that goes into caring for them and the fact that you can’t find them easily elsewhere.
It’s easy to turn a visit to the pumpkin patch into a morning or afternoon day trip, especially if you’ve got kids with you.
In addition to the pumpkins, there’s a fun little corn maze; an animal area where you can observe some of the farms chickens and pigs; a play area for the kids; and a hayride that brings visitors through the pumpkin fields.
If you get hungry or thirsty, you can purchase fresh apples, cider, and cookies. It’s frowned upon, but I brought coffee with me, and I know for a fact that plenty of others smuggled in their own food and beverages. You can definitely get away with it if you’re looking to save a few dollars, though—just be slick about it.
Helpful Tips and Important Information
- For the love of all that is good, don’t go on Sunday. I went on Sunday and it was PACKED, which meant 2 things. One, I couldn’t get a pumpkin cart and was therefore limited to only what I could carry, and two, the checkout lines at the end of the day were insane. I was in the checkout line for so long that I’m pretty sure I watched a high school romance blossom, live its life, and die all before I even made it inside. I can’t vouch for Saturdays, but any weekday is probably better.
- Bring cash with you. If you bring cash, you have access to the much faster-moving “Cash Only” checkout, so I strongly advise you bring some with you. The new chip-reading debit cards make things move a lot more slowly.
- The earlier you go, the easier it’ll be to get parking that isn’t too far away. This doesn’t seem important until you are carrying 50 pounds of pumpkins and 3 toddlers.
- Weather permitting, the pumpkin patch is open 7 days a week from 10am–5:30pm all the way up to Halloween day. (Because people don’t tend to come too late on Halloween day, the farms close at 4pm). Call ahead to be sure that the fields are open before you drive out there: 203-929-8425.
- Pets are not allowed, so don’t try to smuggle Fido in. It’s a liability thing.