Udny Pumpkins is run by Jenny Fyall, with the usually-willing assistance of her husband John and their two young children Isabel and Thomas. Jenny's obsession with all things pumpkin started in 2017 after the family moved to a 10-acre smallholding near Aberdeen. When a friend suggested a pumpkin patch as a good use for their spare field, she first had to look up what one was and then she stayed up half the night researching how to make it work.
A few months later she was prostrate on the floor in agony with a bad back after trying to plant, grow and weed 1,000 pumpkin plants by hand. However, the seed of the idea had begun to germinate and (with the help of a good pilates teacher to fix her poorly back) she cracked on.
The first year only a few hundred pumpkins grew but visitors to the patch were kind enough to be very encouraging and their positive comments and reviews spurred her on. So the following year there were about 1,000 pumpkins, and in 2019 we are aiming for thousands!
There are many types of pumpkins to choose from, ranging from white Snowman pumpkins, to warty ones, tiny ones good for decoration, large ones for carving and tasty varieties intended for cooking (although all our pumpkins are great for eating).
We are very proud of how the pumpkins are grown. Without much equipment at hand on the smallholding (apart from a fork and wheelbarrow) free range pigs are used to plough the patch. Manure from the turkeys and chickens helps to create the compost used for feeding the growing seedlings. No chemicals are used in the growing process and they are all planted by hand. Our pumpkins have much thicker flesh than those in the supermarket, making them perfect for cooking with as well as carving.
However, the pumpkins are are not perfect-looking like those in the supermarket. They are a wide variety of autumnal colours, shapes and sizes but we think they are even more beautiful as a result. Deliciously and perfectly imperfect!
As well as picking pumpkins there is loads more on offer at Udny Pumpkins. There are tatties to dig and turnips to pull (why not follow Scottish tradition and carve a turnip?).
Visitors are encouraged to get up close and personal with our friendly sheep, turkeys and hens and may even get the chance to handle baby chicks and ducklings. There is also a colouring competition, hay bales to climb on, games in the field and (new for 2019) delicious hot drinks, bakes and soup.
Pumpkins range in price from £3 to £12. Animal feed is available to buy. There is no entry fee or charge for the other games and activities.
In April we offer the chance for children to plant their own pumpkin. They can take one planted seed home to try to grow themselves, and the other stays at Udny Pumpkins where it will be put in a separate "children's patch" so the child can return to see it when we open in the Autumn.
We are really looking forward to seeing you in 2019!