Just on the edge of the fens proper, just outside of Ramsey near Huntingdon is my fantastic supplier of Pumpkins & squashes, I located him by use of www.bigbarn.co.uk which shows via google maps who's producing & selling what in your area ..Rob Stacey & family known as "Freshfields" (...PE26 2XU if using a sat-nav.) FRESHFIELDS, BENWICK ROAD, RAMSEY FORTY FOOT, RAMSEY PE26 2XUHUNTINGDON , CAMBRIDGESHIRE
Phone : +44 (0) 1354 677579
GEO : 52.478516 , -0.051636 I called him up on his mobile, he was on his tractor but happy to chat, so I arranged to come down & was allowed to rootle through the Pumpkin bins & pick from the fields, must have moved around a tonne of pumpkin flesh in that original foray..
To put it into context I was paying around £2.00 to-£3.00 for pumpkins that were around 5 times the weight of one of your regular very small completely round & therefore a pain to carve supermarket pumpkin..
If you wanted to blow your neighbours out of the water with a "superpower"show of pumpkin strength i'd have paid around £20 for a pumpkin that you'd pay £120 to-£140 a pumpkin deserving of it's own delivery pallet, if say you were a city grocer doing a big display of seasonal veg & wanted to make an impression! ..So buy direct off your local farmer, it will go into his pocket & back into the economy not to a shareholder of bigsupermarket incorporated!
The quality difference was akin to eating a cold greasy plastic cheese Mcdonalds burger on a park bench in the rain ..yes i'm talking 1 size fits all supermarket pumpkins) ..compared to eating at Heston Bleumenthals Fat Duck or having River cottage feed you up!( my good British pumpkins courtesy of Rob at Freshfields ..large heavy, thick skinned, different sizes & shapes just as it should be.
A visit to a pumpkin patch is a great event for a child (or big ones) making a proper project to be proud of compared to mum simply coming back from the supermarket & thrashing a basic triangle shape out in a matter of minutes.
Do take wellies & a change of shoes for all who may trudge around a working farm or be invited to pick their own from a field, you'll want to change from boots to shoes again before you get in your car & stick the mucky wellies in a carrier bag or two! ..especially if taking a child who sits in a kiddie car seat.
Quality pumpkins last, my last few unsullied pumpkins have only just been despatched to the recycling bin having been purchased first week of October 2010, they lasted through to April 20th 2011 ..essentially 6 months in a semi heated room!
If you want to seasonally store a pumpkin for thanksgiving, or new year carving or merely to store awhile prior to eating, try seating it on thick cardboard / in a cardboard box on the floor of an unheated garage, or totally frost protected & vermin free area, mine have tended to sit in the office & front room with our woodburner where room temps are as low as 0 C & as high as 26.7C ..but as far away as possible in order to ascertain how long they can potentially last in a variety of situations.