Picking Our First Pumpkins | Craigie's Farm and Shop Edinburgh
Craigie's Farm Shop Edinburgh is one of the few farms' in Scotland that offer the ever elusive opportunity to Pick Your Own Pumpkin. I’ve been waiting eagerly to visit one since around this time last year, and we finally ticked it off the bucket list this weekend. There really isn’t much in the way of choice when it comes to pumpkin patches – or any 'pick your own' style farms for that matter – local to us. Scotland is a bit sparse with options, with the most local being a 45 minute drive or so from us in Stirling. A 45 minute drive is not a problem, but unfortunately this particular patch does not open until the 14th October, and that is. I will still visit (no doubt through gritted teeth), but as we are busy the next two weekends, we are only left with Halloween weekend’, and I can only imagine how busy it will be then. I recently discovered a Craigie's Farm on Instagram almost by chance, and although it was a little bit further afield, it was already open, and I finally got my pumpkin picking wish. Before setting off for the farm, we stopped off at our local Mothercare to pick up a pair of wellies for Harrison, and this was the first and most crucial mistake of the day. I thought by doing this I was making life easier for myself, Harrison only has little t-bar first walker shoes and I can be forgiven for thinking they wouldn’t withstand the farm. I should have gone with the shoes. But alas, wellies in hand, we made the drive to Craigie’s Farm and Café in South Queensferry Edinburgh. From Glasgow this took us just under an hour with bad roadworks, so not nearly as bad as expected. At around lunchtime both overflow car parks were pretty much full and I almost braced myself for an absolute nightmare. The fact that there were so many people gave little hope for a good clear go at pumpkin picking, but we jumped in and picked up a map and a punnet anyway.
The very fact that we were given a map gives you an idea of the scale of Craigie's, we went for the pumpkin patch, but we got an entire farm. The map wasn't really necessary as everything was within walking distance and in sight, but it's a great way to let kids take control (or if your a fully grown adult such as myself plan your exact route to ensure you are exposed to the maximum amount of pickable items). We bypassed the pumpkins completely and started with strawberries, which was one of my favorite finds of the day. I had been completely convinced that Strawberry season was over and done with, which I think in most farms it is, but Craigie's still had plenty left to pick. In summer I'd imagine this area would be heaving, but in mid-October we had it all to ourselves. In here the first problem of the day became apparent pretty quickly. Our one year will eat anything. Our one year old cannot digest everything and therefore we spent the entire time attacking anything in sight with a wet wipe, or wiping the evidence from his jumper. There are signs everywhere saying that if you pick you buy, but Harrison' hadn't quite got the memo...
Craigie's Farm also has the only Apple Orchard in Scotland, which is something we never knew existed. It's a few minutes walk from the Strawberries and surprisingly it was not too mucky at all. Think park mucky rather than farm mucky. As we walked we saw the tractor and trailers ride by which you can also jump on - this would probably have been a good idea for us as by this point Harrison had discovered the art of removing his welly boots. I kid you not, I spent more time picking up welly boots than I did fruit. I'm normally the calm one in our family, but good lord help me when those wellies hit the muck for the 12th time I was absolutely over them. It turned into a great game for the one year old but one that got very old very quickly. We let him loose in the apple orchard and he was more than happy to sit and lick the one apple we gave him - the orchard was beautiful, again, only a limited space in the Orchard was open due to the season, but more than plenty for everyone there to have the run of the rows.
We eventually made it back to the Pumpkins, and I hate to say it, but they were a bit of a let down in comparison to the rest of the farm. This says nothing about the quality of the Pumpkin Patch, it had an abundance of pumpkins to choose from and we found one that we loved, but I had a very distinct image of a pumpkin patch in my head and this was not it. This was my mistake, I had visions of the Undley Pumpkin Patch I've seen (Lauren I'm blaming you), which is less of a patch and more of a pumpkin selection ground. We had the authentic experience of where the pumpkins were grown, when the wannabe-photographer in me just wanted the rows and rows of orange. If we ignore my unrealistic expectations of what a Pumpkin Patch actually is, Craigie's hits all of the marks. Perfect for kids, perfect for those adults like me who are completely Autumn daft.
Craigie's works on a 'Pay As You Pick' system, the website states £3 minimum spend but that was never mentioned to us on the day. If I'm perfectly honest, it would be difficult not to spend £3 here anyway. This is not because the fruit and veg is excessively expensive, but your given a full punnet (or multiple) when you arrive, and it feels very odd not to at least fill it somewhat. We picked around 15 or so strawberries, 4 apples and a single pumpkin and it cost us £10.60 altogether. By Lidl standard, it's daylight robbery. By a day out standard, it's one of the cheapest you'll have. For that price we also visited the animals, played in the park so really your getting a lot for what you spend.
We had very little expectations of Craigie's Farm, and I think that is the best way to go about a day like this. Your day is completely dependent on the weather, and the other people who've chosen to spend their Sunday in the exact same way - both of which you cannot control. We were very lucky on our day. Although the car parks were full, the fields certainly were not and you can see from the pictures that we were more or less left to our own devices. There was no fighting for space, there was more than enough to pick and the fact that there were so many different things to pick meant that you could really make a day of it. Price wise, I'd say very worth it. It's completely relative, and while on one hand I look at my little punnet and think I could have gotten the lot in Lidl for £4 rather than the £10.60 I had to spend, I look at the £30 I would have spent for two hours in the cinema and think I've gotten a good deal out of it all. I really can't recommend Craigie's Farm enough, we'll be back without a doubt but there is absolutely no chance in hell I'll be bringing any wellies.
VALUE FOR MONEY: 4* SERVICE: 5* TOILETS/CHANGING: 3* COFFEE: 3.5* OVERALL DAY OUT: 4*