Seattle's Child

Your guide to a kid-friendly city

Pick the Perfect Pumpkin – Tips from an Expert

For 23years Carol and Ben Krause have opened their pumpkin patch at The Farm at Swan’s Trail in Snohomish to the public. With 52 acres of pumpkins planted, these two — who run the farm along with their son, Nate — know something about pumpkin picking, and Carol is always happy to share her knowledge, starting with why pumpkin picking is such a great family activity, from the pumpkins and corn maze (shaped like Washington state!) to the apple cider and cinnamon rolls.

But as seasoned pickers know, things can go awry. Carol recommends trying to plan the trip for an off time. At Swan’s Trail, that means coming early in the month, or if you must go on a mid-month weekend, getting there before noon or after four in the afternoon. If you’re OK with fewer food options, she also recommends coming after school on a weekday instead of on the weekend. Her biggest tip, though, asks that you find your hardy inner Northwesterner: Come on a day when the sun isn’t out.

Once you’re there, Carol and Ben do their best to make things easy. Use the sample row of various pumpkins, marked with prices, to figure out what size and style you like. “Have an idea of what you want,” says Carol, “so you’re not shocked when you get to the register with a giant pumpkin.” They have more than 35 different kinds of pumpkins, in all sizes, shapes, colors, and even skin types — smooth or warty. A quick family meeting about what you’re looking for can keep the ship sailing smoothly.

After all, you’re here to have fun — that’s what creates the traditions and the memories. After more than two decades of running the farm, Carol still says that her favorite part is talking to people who tell her they’ve been coming back each year since their kids were little. As you plan your day, think about what sort of traditions — and memories — you want to make for your family.

The Farm at Swan’s Trail: 7301 Rivershore Road, Snohomish,