One of the indications that fall is here in the Sacramento valley is the season's harvest. When October rolls around, expect to see several pumpkin patches popping up. Here's a brief list of popular patches.
Fair Oaks Boulevard Nursery
Address: 4681 Fair Oaks Blvd., Sac.
Phone: (916) 483-1830
Days of operation: Mid-September through Thanksgiving
Hours of operation: Monday to Saturday, 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Sunday 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Goblin Gardens Pumpkin Patch
Address: 3845 El Centro Road, Sac.
Phone: (916) 416-1133
Days of operation: September 27 to October 31
Hours of operation: Daily, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. or dusk
Goblin Gardens, operated by Bastio Farms, is popular with mommies toting babies and toddlers. The little ones can conquer the 1,000 bale straw pyramid or venture into the largest corn maze in Sacramento County (according to Bastio owner Dennis Bastio). There are also hay rides, antique tractors, slide, blow-up inflateables, produce and the ever-so-popular kiddie cars (powered by the kids’ feet). Goblin Gardens also hosts many field trips and may open earlier to accommodate these groups.
The Pumpkin Farm
Address: 7736 Old Auburn Road, Citrus Heights
Phone: (916) 726-1137
Days of operation: October 1 to 31
Hours of operation: Daily, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.
The Pumpkin Farm has been serving up pumpkins to the Sacramento area since 1974. Visitors can enjoy the hayrides, pony rides, haunted barn, petting zoo, jumping castle, tower slides and of course the scarecrows. The Pumpkin Farm will again hold its annual Scarecrow Contest, where a creative entry could win a $1,500 prize. The Pumpkin Farm will be featuring giant pumpkins this year, a new attraction. Already, they have one that is more than 800 pounds.
Bishop’s Pumpkin Farm
Address: 1415 Pumpkin Lane, Wheatland
Phone: (530) 633-2568 (for info and school field trip reservations)
Days of operation: September 20 to October 31
Hours of operation: Sunday to Thursday, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Friday to Saturday, 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Cost: Admission is free. Parking is free opening weekend and on weekdays and $10 on weekends. Corn maze is $3.50. Coyote Mountain admission is $3.50. BPF Railroad tickets is $2.50. Coupons are available online. Field trips is $6 per person from Sept. 24 to 30 and $7 per person from Oct. 1 to 31.
Plan to spend a big chunk of your day at Bishop’s Pumpkin Farm. Start by taking a free hayride to the pumpkin fields and pick your ideal gourd right off the vine. After that, why not take a not-so-leisurely stroll in the three-acre corn maze. If getting lost among the corn isn’t your thing, then take a ride on the BPF Railroad where the tracks meander through the jumbo pumpkin patch, through the apple and walnut orchards and by the horse pasture. Before leaving, tackle Coyote Mountains’ 50-foot slide and don’t forget to pan for marbles at the stream below the slide.
Fog Willow Pumpkin Farm
Address: 11011 Cecatra Drive, Wilton
Phone: (916) 687-4547
Days of operation: October 1 to 31
Hours of operation: Daily, 9:30 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Cost: $3 per person, free for kids 2 and younger
Fog Willow Pumpkin Farm is the brainchild of Elk Grove school teacher Stacey Cates. With her family history rooted in farming, Cates felt that students weren’t learning much about agriculture and wanted to do something about it. Hence, Fog Willow was born in 2003. The farm is tucked along the banks of the Consumnes River and is immensely popular with school-aged kids as evidenced by the many school busses making their way to the farm. This is a great location to bring your family as there are lots to do, with a barrel train, hay rides, petting zoo, crafts, picnic area, haystack and barbecue during the weekends. Kids can join the Lil’ Pickers Punkin’ Club ($20) to receive goodies.