Autumn at Ticonderoga Farms means pumpkins, hayrides, and plenty of outdoor fun in their huge play area. Their pumpkin patch is a short walk from the entrance or the hayride will take you right there, though I recommend the hayride, which takes you around the bamboo maze and part of the Christmas tree forest. It’s a fun autumn tradition and my boys were screaming, “This is the best hayride ever!” They enjoyed seeing all the Halloween displays and prop animals throughout the ride.
Choosing a pumpkin turned out to be a challenging task for the boys, as one pumpkin after another was inspected and rejected. When each had finally chosen the perfect pumpkin, we hopped back on the hay wagon and finished the ride. We ended our farm adventure at the huge outdoor slide, which is a man-made hill with six slides around it. It’s the old-fashioned kind, where you sit on a blanket and speed down the hill, and the boys ran right back up the hill after each trip down. By the time the farm closed, the boys were thoroughly worn out. They happily carried their pumpkins back to the car and asked when we could come back. Soon, very soon.
Ticonderoga Farms in Autumn
Autumn of 2011 was very difficult for farms in our area. Heavy rains had flooded out many fields and Ticonderoga lost most of their pumpkins for the season. To keep the autumn festival going, they purchased pumpkins from other farms outside our region and put the pumpkins out in the fields for children to pick.
Top Gun and Monkey Boy decided they didn’t want us to eat their pumpkins just yet, but Hockey Guy was very agreeable, and we all enjoyed this roasted pumpkin butter. Roasting the pumpkin brings out the natural sweetness, so you can use less added sugar. To play around with flavors, use whatever mix of spices you use in pumpkin pie, and store-bought pumpkin pie spice mix works well, too. Star anise and cloves also make an interesting addition, just go lightly with those stronger flavors.
Roasted Pumpkin Butter
- baking sheet, lined with foil and lightly coated with canola oil cooking spray
- 1 quart saucepan
- immersion blender or jar blender
- 1 small pie pumpkin (aka sugar pumpkin, roasted)
- 3 tablespoons light brown sugar (or raw sugar)
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
- 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- Roast the pumpkin according the directions (linked above). Scoop the roasted pumpkin out of the skin and put it all in a 1-quart saucepan. Stir in the brown sugar, cinnamon, ginger, allspice, and nutmeg and cook over medium heat until the sugar dissolves and the mixture is heated through. Blend with the immersion blender or in a jar blender until smooth. Store in a jar in the refrigerator for up to 3 weeks or in the freezer for up to 3 months.