You know it's sweater weather when the season's air is crisp and leaves have suddenly changed from green to golden hues of red.

It's October in New England and pumpkins, a symbol of harvest celebration, are everywhere! Whether you are planning to decorate with pumpkins, carve a jack-o'-lantern or make pumpkin pie, there are nearby farms and orchards where you can find them in all shapes and sizes.

Take a drive through our local towns of Nashoba Valley, take in nature's spectacular colors and hunt for the perfect pumpkin!

Tips for choosing a pumpkin:

* Select medium to large size for carving. Small pumpkins are best for cooking (do not use one that has been carved).

* Shape matters...tall or round.

* The stem gives it character but be sure not to carry it by the stem. Support the pumpkin with one hand on its base as you carry it.

* Choose one that is firm, check for soft spots, cracks and splits.

* Old pumpkins can go to livestock or the compost pile.

Call or check websites for hours and directions:

Carlson Orchards

115 Oak Hill Road, Harvard

978-456-3916

Pumpkins, apples, apple cider & apple cider doughnuts

www.carlsonorchards.com

Westward Orchards

178 Mass Ave., Route 111, Harvard

978-456-8363

Wagon rides to pumpkin patch (weekends only 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.), apple cider doughnuts