In search of a great pumpkin

Opening of local patches heralds autumn tradition

By Paris Achen, Columbian courts reporter

Published:

 

Pumpkin patches Now Open

La Center Farms Pumpkin Patch, 31215 N.E. 40th Ave., La Center.

10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays through Oct. 30.

Admission is free. Pumpkin prices vary by size.

Call 360-573-8965.

Pomeroy Living History Farm, 20902 N.E. Lucia Falls Road, Yacolt.

10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturdays and 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. Sundays through Oct. 30.

Admission is $6 for adults, $4 for ages 3-11. Pumpkin prices are $1 and up. Call 360-686-3537 or visit pomeroyfarm.org.

Tickled by a steady mist of rain, 7-year-old Morgan Cain bolted into the pumpkin patch at Yacolt’s Pomeroy Living History Farm on Sunday and claimed a symmetrical pumpkin. Then, she hiked it to the edge of the patch and plopped it into a wheelbarrow.

“Wow, it’s really nice, honey,” said her mom, Sandy Cain.

Rain on Sunday ushered in one of fall’s first rituals: selecting a pumpkin to decorate for Halloween. But it didn’t stop a stream of families who visited the farm on its opening weekend Saturday and Sunday.

Over the weekend, both Pomeroy farm and La Center Farms opened up their pumpkin patches for the first time this year to families. In addition to pumpkin patches, the farms offered a variety of other family-friendly activities that delighted both children and adults.

Visitors at Pomeroy reached the farm’s pumpkin patch by a tractor-pulled covered wagon with hay bale seats. On the way back to the main grounds, they were given a tour of “Pumpkin Lane,” where characters from fairy tales, popular culture and artists’ imaginations were depicted with pumpkin heads, including the Grinch from the book by Dr. Seuss and Rapunzel.

“Santa Claus,” one child shouted. With a closer glance, he said, “No, that’s the Grinch.”

Battle Ground resident Carmen Maunu, who came to the farm with her husband and three children, found inspiration in the display for her own pumpkin-decorating endeavor, which she and her family will start on later this week.

“I like the idea of using the stem as the nose,” Maunu commented. “That’s a neat idea.”

The nonprofit living history farm also offered a hay bale maze, a reenactment of a Civil War encampment, log house tours, pumpkin pie and live music and vocals by Amboy guitarist Wayne Hoffman.

The weekend festivities set the stage for other fall rituals in the coming days. The Cain family planned to decorate their pumpkins and eat roasted pumpkin seeds during an upcoming football game on television.

Sunday was the Maunu family’s first visit to the farm. Maunu learned about the farm after the school her 6-year-old son Garrett attends scheduled a field trip there for later this year.

“We wanted to go to a pumpkin patch, so we chose here,” Maunu said.

For other families, the farm is an annual tradition. The Cain family has been visiting the farm almost every year since their son, Griffin, 10, was born.

The founder of the farm’s living history program, Bob Brink, was Sandy Cain’s teacher when she attended Gaiser Middle School.

Brink left the Vancouver School District in 1989 to start the program, which draws 3,000 to 4,000 children on school field trips each year.

Paris Achen: 360-735-4551; http://www.twitter.com/Col_Trends; http://www.facebook.com/ColTrends; paris.achen@columbian.com.