The quest for the perfect pumpkin can take you all over the Twin Cities. No matter which direction your map sends you, you’re sure to find a pumpkin farm on the outskirts of where urban ends and country begins.

Some folks like to find pumpkins in interesting shapes to set on the front steps. Others are exacting and look for the symmetrically round or oval pumpkins for display. And other families have a pumpkin carving tradition. Some like short, squatty pumpkins. Others go for the long and tall pumpkins. Some tend toward small pumpkins. Others favor giant pumpkins.

In our house, we like big, round pumpkins. We carve them into heckling, giggling, jolly old chaps with snaggly, toothy grins and twinkling eyes. It’s a family affair, with the little ones, plunging their hands deep into the slimy, mushy innards, pulling out handfuls of seeds and orange goo while we trace the happy faces on and chisel out the orange flesh. Then, it’s my turn to separate the seeds, wash, dry, season and roast them.

CBS Minnesota Insider carving tips: In recent years, I’ve found a cheap carving set with a small, saw-looking knife that works perfectly for this project, even though it looks and feels as though it wouldn’t cut through an apple let alone a pumpkin. Additionally, I’ve found that the battery operated candles are a great substitute for real burning candles, for those parents who, like me, worry about the fire hazard of candles.

And a few places to get pumpkins:


Gilbertson Farms

12791 Oakhill Rd
Scandia, MN 55073

This family-run farm is just northeast of the Twin Cities in Scandia, MN. And it’s ripping at the seams with entertaining activities. Not only are there pumpkins to pick, but there are also pig races, a corn maze and a hay bale maze, pedal go carts and pedal tractors, corn and soybean “sand” boxes and of course, a petting zoo and hayride, plus much more.


Nelson Farm

Litchfield, MN
Weekends September 25 – October 31, plus the MEA weekend
Saturday 11:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Sunday 12:00 – 5:00 p.m.
MEA 11:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Cost: $7 Admission; under 1 is free

Nelson’s farm in Litchfield, west of the Twin Cities, has a long list of activities, including corn cob golf, combine rides, barrel races, make-and-take scarecrows, a tree fort with slides, a sod house and many more, besides, of course the obligatory attractions and fields of pumpkins. New this year, there’s even a scarecrow-making contest on Oct. 23-24 and a pumpkin-carving contest on Halloween weekend. They even have an active Trebuchet (a/k/a Pumpkin Chucker) for the “adult” kids in your family. The crew is sure to be tuckered out after visiting this busy farm.

(credit: Jupiter Images)

Terra Nue

32025 Ranch Trail
Shafer, MN 55074
Every Weekend in October: 11:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Cost: $5 admission; 2 and under are Free

This farm has been established for only a year, but it’s got a lot going on each weekend in October. There’s the usual hayride, petting zoo, and picking out the pumpkin, etc., but they also have a haunted barn, pumpkin chunking with a Trebuchten (not powered tank launcher) and a movie in the barn loft. Don’t forget to check out their Giant Pumpkin vines! This beautiful farm is located in Shafer, near Taylors Falls, north of the Twin Cities.


Lendt’s Pumpkin Patch

6903 Wyoming Trail
Wyoming, MN 55092
September 25 – October 31; 9:00 a.m. – Dusk
Cost: Free Admission; Pick-Your-Own-Pumpkins $3

Pick your own or choose from a variety of pre-picked pumpkins at this pumpkin farm in Wyoming, just north of the Twin Cities. There are many fun activities for families to partake in along the way, including corn pits with corn and sand box toys and face painting. Concessions are available for purchase, and hayrides are by reservation only. This farm offers great spots for family photo ops! Check the website for more information regarding the hayride package.


Barten Pumpkins

5716 W. 280th St
New Prague, MN 56071
September 20 – October 31, open during daylight hours
Cost: Free admission; Pumpkins $2 – $6

This pumpkin farm was established 19 years ago and is run by a very large, dedicated family. Each Saturday in October is Pumpkin Fun Saturdays. Here you will find over 6,000 pumpkins to choose from, caricatures, family farm games, pony rides and hayrides, all for free. Their goal is to provide beautiful fall decorations for families at family friendly prices.

Pumpkin Carving

Silverwood Park, a Three Rivers Park District Park
2500 County Rd E
St. Anthony MN 55421
October 26: 5:00 – 7:00 p.m.
Cost: $7

Leave the mess for someone else to clean up and simply show up for the carving party at Silverwood. You’ll be provided with a pumpkin, carving tools and natural material for decorating. Prior to digging into your own pumpkin, see sculpting demonstrations and examples. The evening will be capped by a jack-o-lantern lighting and marshmallow roast. This activity is open to all ages.
For more pumpkin patches in your area, ranging from no frills and just pumpkins to pulling out all the stops, a three ring circus with every possible farm fun add-on, like many of these listed above, click here.

Remember it’s time for Oktoberfest –- check out our Guide to the Twin Cities German celebration.

Anna Berend is an attorney and the author of Motherly Law Blog. On Motherly Law, Anna writes about legal issues that affect families and offers tips and resources that pertain to those legal topics. On occasion, inspiration strikes and Anna writes about something totally unrelated to the law. You can find Anna at Motherly Law, on Facebook at Motherly Law and on Twitter @MotherlyLaw.