Friday 23 October 2020

We got Pumpkins! A trip to Algy's Farm Shop

Is it even October if you don’t spend an obscene amount of time obsessing over finding the perfect pumpkin? Not in my household. Last year my friends and I had a day out together at Algy’s Farm shop in Dereham on the hunt for the perfect pumpkins for the various creations we all had in mind. This year was no different, and last Saturday my friend Chloe and I made the journey across the Norfolk countryside to re-visit Algy’s.

Thankfully the sat nav took us a different way this year, and I was pleased to find myself navigating much larger country roads than when our friend drove last year. In fact I’m 99% sure whatever sat nav we used last year was just messing with us, taking us down teeny tiny winding roads that were only wide enough for one vehicle at a time.


When we pulled off the road and into the farm we found it to be much busier than when we went last year. There were a lot of children about so I had to be pretty cautious and drove slowly down the track towards the carpark. Although it seemed it was the adults that were oblivious to the car far more than the kids, with one woman standing in the middle of the road faffing on her phone, while her child had to point out the approaching car to her. At the point the kid has better road sense than their parent, you’ve really got to wonder..


Anyway, we made it onward to the carpark and despite it being fairly full quickly found a space to park. The carpark is free, so there’s no need to worry about scrabbling change together to pay. The wheel barrels were all stacked up next to the carpark with plenty of sanitiser on hand to clean them down.


When we trudged back over to the field we found a slightly different layout to last year. Previously the pumpkins were unmoved, and most were still connected to the main plant. Whilst this had meant a little more challenge getting some of them off the vine it did mean that the pumpkins were fresh and happily still growing away until the point that they were chosen.


This year was slightly different, with the pumpkins cut from the plant and moved into rows. Whilst this did mean that some of the pumpkins had started to age, it also helped keep everyone separate and spaced out. I made soup from the innards of my pumpkins last year, so hopefully the pumpkins I chose this time round haven’t gone off and I can do the same again this year. There were also a few bits and pieces around to keep kids entertained, and the younger ages very much seemed to be catered for.


As we were in the open air very few people were wearing masks, but everyone was so far apart from each other that it didn’t really matter. We stomped up and down the rows looking at the variety of pumpkins whist I searched out what I wanted – I can be a little picky and over specific when it comes to picking out my pumpkins, and did change my mind a few times while Chloe patiently pushed the wheel barrow for me.


Last year I made a floral arrangement with my pumpkin, which I want to do again this year, but I also want to do traditional pumpkin carvings as well this time, so I picked ended up with four pumpkins of different sizes, colours and shapes.


When we returned to the shop to pay for our pumpkins we found a similar set up as last year, with the addition of an option to pay outside. Pumpkins are priced according to their size, which is measured using a large board with various sized holes cut out. To save people going in and out of the shop there was a staff member with a mask stood by the board – although it did look like the farm shop was still open for people who wanted to purchase things other than pumpkins. He allowed us to measure our own pumpkins so that he could remain at a reasonable distance.   


Previously payment has been cash only, but we were pleased to see that there was an option to pay by card this time around, to further aid in social distancing. The pumpkins are very reasonably priced, with the smaller ones being as little as £1 so you’d have to purchase rather a lot of pumpkins before you move into the realms of not being able to pay contactless.


All in all it was a great day out in the fresh air and I would highly recommend a visit if you live in Norfolk.


Have you got your pumpkins yet?

* Some of the photos for todays post were kindly taken or provided by my friend Chloe - thank you Chloe!


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