On the hunt for the perfect pumpkin

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


Pumpkins, apples, apple cider & apple cider doughnuts


Westward Orchards

178 Mass Ave., Route 111, Harvard


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


Doe Orchards

327 Ayer Road, Harvard


Pumpkins, gourds, apples, cider, honey and maple syrup


Kimball Fruit Farm

184 Hollis St., Pepperell


Pumpkin patch, apples, vegetables, including winter squash, herbs