Pick a pumpkin patch
County sites offer wide variety of fun fall activities
Friday, October 21, 2011
Clark County pumpkin patches
9504 N.E. 119th St., Brush Prairie.
Hours: 2-5:30 p.m. Fridays; 10 a.m. to 5:50 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays.
Admission: $8, includes activities and a pumpkin.
Joe’s Place Farms
701 N.E. 112th Ave., Vancouver.
Hours: 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays; 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sundays.
Admission: Pumpkin patch is free, $1 for fort maze, $1 for hay ride daily 4-5:30 p.m.
J.D.’s Famous Pumpkin Patch
19407 N.E. Gabriel Road, Yacolt.
Hours: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays.
Admission: $10 per car, includes two pumpkins, hay ride and animal petting farm. $2 extra per person for horse and buggy ride.
La Center Farms
31215 N.E. 40th Ave., La Center.
Hours: Pumpkin patch: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays; Frightland: 7-10 p.m. Oct. 21, 22, 28, 29.
Admission: Pumpkin patch is free. Frightland is $2 for theater/play, $3 for haunted woods tour.
Pomeroy Living History Farm
20902 N.E. Lucia Falls Road, Yacolt.
Hours: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturdays, 1-5 p.m. Sundays.
Admission: $6 for adults, $4 for kids ages 3-11, free for kids under age 3.
Velvet Acres Gardens
18905 N.E. 83rd St., Vancouver.
Hours: 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Mondays through Fridays; 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturdays; noon to 5 p.m. Sundays.
Admission: $3 hay ride includes pumpkin, animal petting farm and hay tunnel.
Clark County’s pumpkin patches are a bit like people, said Stephen Boynton, owner of La Center Farms.
No two are the same, and each offers something new and interesting to discover.
At the farm Boynton owns with his wife, Lissa, for example, the quarter-acre pumpkin patch is a calm, relaxed family environment.
The 27-acre farm is mostly used to grow Christmas trees, but there’s nothing wrong with adding a little Halloween fun to the mix, Boynton said.
“We’re small, we’re not like Bi-Zi Farms or even Joe’s Place,” Boynton said. “We have a lot of things for families, kids.”
Beyond pumpkins, the farm offers a maze through the tree farm, hay bale maze for children, a few toss games and — perhaps the coolest event — a potato gun range with potatoes and guns supplied for kids to shoot at monster heads.
“We have six stations for them,” Boynton said. “We decided to do potato guns because nobody can hurt anybody with them.”
La Center Farms also produces an event called Frightland from 7-10 p.m. on the last two Fridays and Saturdays in October. It’s geared more for adults and older kids, with a haunted walk through the woods, a stage production and a free screening of the film “Haunted Mansion.”
If you’re looking for something more flashy, Brush Prairie’s Bi-Zi Farms, which several local farmers agreed is Clark County’s largest patch, offers a more carnival-like atmosphere.
The farm generally gets about 25,000 visitors in October for its pumpkin patch, which includes a corn maze, hay bale maze, animal petting farm, bale pyramid and pumpkin launch, among other things.
“We try to have activities for just about every age group,” said owner Bill Zimmerman. “We have a corn bin that kids can jump in, chore time where people can take an ear of corn, put it through a sheller and grinder and feed the turkeys, and we have a seven-acre corn maze with about two miles of trails.”
Zimmerman started doing the corn maze at his farm about 12 years ago. He went to a class to learn how to make corn mazes, which is harder than you might think, he said.
“The first maze I made, I screwed it up pretty bad,” Zimmerman said. “You could walk in and out in 30 seconds. Since then we’ve gotten a little more complex about it. Now I try to make it as confusing as I can.”
Joe’s Place Farms in Vancouver has been doing its pumpkin patch for about 35 years now. It has a permanent fort maze made of eight truckloads of old tree props from Hood River, Ore., said Joe Beaudoin, owner.
The site has events for kids, hay rides and a corn stalk teepee, but the farm’s biggest draw is that it has 30 different kinds of pumpkins available, Beaudoin said.
“We have the broadest selection of pumpkins you’ll find anywhere,” Beaudoin said. “We have white, warted, striped, small ones, 150-pound ones.”
The farm is also the largest apple grower in the county and makes its own apple cider. Hay ride participants get a free apple with the $1 price.
Pomeroy Living History Farm in Yacolt features a tractor ride along Pumpkin Lane. The lane has scenes with 80 pumpkin-headed scarecrows doing things like fishing or re-enacting scenes from well-known movies.
The farm has goats, chickens, pigs and a calf for kids to pet, a hay bale maze, a sandbox filled with oats, a pumpkin flume where kids can float foam pumpkins through a water track, and games like corn cob darts and leather horseshoes.
J.D.’s Famous Pumpkin Patch in Yacolt is one of the county’s newest. This is its first year, despite the “famous” moniker, said Butch Schwindt, whose son owns the farm.
“Ours is more of a farm experience,” Schwindt said. “We have lots of pumpkins, hay rides and animals. We also have live turkeys we’ve raised to sell.”
J.D.’s also has horse and buggy rides and kids games, he said.
Before he started offering a pumpkin patch at La Center Farms about four years ago, Boynton said he’d take his family to several patches to enjoy the variety. He’d recommend that for other families, he added.
“Each of these pumpkin patches offers something different,” Boynton said. “There are so many things to check out. It’s fun to go to several of them.”