I woke up this morning to a chill in the air and the feel of autumn approaching. The leaves in my neighborhood are beginning to turn to gold, rust, and red. However, with the arrival of autumn, a favorite family event is within reach: the annual trip to the pumpkin patch or, as I like to call it, pumpkin hunting.
I have been visiting the Pumpkin Patch at Sauvie’s Island since I could walk. My parents had just one rule: you had to be able to carry your pumpkin all the way back to the car. Much to my dismay and imagination, this left huge legions of giant pumpkins grinning sightlessly in the field as I had to bypass them in favor of small, portable ones.
These days, I can lift much larger pumpkins, but I find that I receive the most pleasure in watching my own child choose just the right pumpkin. Will he pick a perfectly round one or a tall, skinny one? Will he talk me into carrying an extra one, just in case? Will he pick one close to the hay wagon drop-off or will he walk all the way to the end of the field?
The Pumpkin Patch has many activities geared towards the fall harvest and pumpkin hunting. The primary draw is their large fields of pumpkins, ranging from small decorative ones to giant ones perfect for carving into jack-o-lanterns. After parking the car, head over towards the hay wagon for a fun ride into the pumpkin fields. Once you find your perfect pumpkin, you can jump back on the hay wagon as it winds its way back towards the main market area.
You’ll also find a fascinating corn maize beginning in September that turns into haunted maize during the evenings in October. The haunted maize is particularly fun for older kids in the weeks leading up to Halloween, and I often remember hearing the shrieks of excited kids navigating the maize. For the younger kids, choose from the animal barn, the cow train, or the hay pyramid. Our little guy really enjoys climbing the hay pyramid and visiting the farm animals in the barn.
For the whole family, be sure to have lunch at the Pumpkin Patch. There is a cafe often daily during the October pumpkin hunting season. The cafe offers delicious hot buttered corn, a family favorite! The farm fresh market is a good place to pick up some fresh fruits and vegetables as well as fall decorating materials including cornstalks, hay bales, and Indian corn. You may also enjoy a stop at the Pumpkin Cottage Gift Shop which offers a good variety of items to help celebrate the upcoming Halloween holiday or even Christmas.
During your visit, plan on spending a few hours experiencing the Pumpkin Patch. Remember to take your camera to capture all those special pumpkin hunting moments with your kids and, perhaps, one day they will bring their own children here for a visit.
Hay rides: weekends in October from 10:00 a.m. to closing
Cost: free with pumpkin purchase
Corn Maize: daily from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. and Friday/Saturday/Sunday until 10:00 p.m. beginning September 1st
Haunted Corn Maize: October 12-14, 19-21, and 26-28 from 6:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m.
Regular Adult $7
Regular Kids (6-12) $5
Regular Senior $5
5 and Under FREE
Haunted Adult $10
Haunted Kids (6-12) $8
Directions: Take Hwy 30 west from Portland. Cross the Sauvie Island Bridge and turn left to loop back under the bridge. Drive about two miles until you see the signs for the Pumpkin Patch.
For more information and directions, visit http://www.thepumpkinpatch.com/.