The Perfect Pumpkin Patch

18 10 2013

IMG_2332As a mom of three, I’ve visited my portion of pumpkin patches over the years. My children’s ages, weather, extra-curricular activities, and whether we go as a family or with a school class depend on which patch we visit each October. Every pumpkin farm offers unique activities and means of securing the perfect pumpkin. One farm, however, remains our constant favorite: The Pumpkin Patch on Sauvie Island in Oregon.

The Pumpkin Patch opened nearly 50 years ago and continues pushing the envelope in its service to locals, as well as in Africa where the family and staff travel to teach sustainable farming. The Pumpkin Patch opens in June for strawberry season and closes in November when harvest is over, IMG_2329growing over 40 varieties of fruits and vegetables during these months. The peak of summer provides berries, pit fruits, melons, cruciferous vegetables, beans, onions, and potatoes. Late summer and early fall yields pears, apples, tomatoes, peppers, and corn. Harvest delivers nuts, cabbage, gourds, and squash as far as your eye can see. The Pumpkin Patch hand-harvests produce daily and hand-selects additional produce from neighboring farms. I like that these amazing farms on Sauvie Island partner to ensure we get the best variety and quality of food at farm-direct prices. The Pumpkin Patch also allows customers to select their own produce and seasonal flowers in certain U-Pick areas.

The farmers clear plenty of space for free parking near the entrance where they do not require fees, tickets, or tokens to enter The Pumpkin Patch. Even if you don’t buy a thing—I guarantee you’ll find something to take home—you will be fully entertained by all that the farm holds. The Pumpkin Patch includes The Pumpkin Cottage gift shop, The Pumpkin Patch Market, Animal Barn, Patio Café, Corn Maize, Haunted Maize, Cow Train, hay rides, a hay pyramid and hay maze.

IMG_2361Patio Café (daily 10 a.m.-6 p.m.)

Several windows serve burgers, sandwiches, hot dogs, sausage, nachos, seasonal desserts, corn on the cob, elephant ears, caramel apples, kettle corn, sodas, and root beer floats for cash only. Enjoy your meal and treats under a tent or in the nearby picnic area.

The Pumpkin Cottage Gift Shop (daily 10 a.m.-6 p.m.)IMG_2313

Browse through this quaint shop for seasonal gifts, farm souvenirs, collectibles, home décor, packaged food, toys, and original cards.

The Pumpkin Patch Market (Sun-Thur 9 a.m.-6 p.m.,      Fri-Sat 9 a.m.-10 p.m.)

This authentic farm market blends the rustic with a high-end flair, selling bins of produce next to specialty foods. Snatch up unique décor items, flowers, hay bales, dried cornstalks, and Indian corn. Farm staff picks a variety of pumpkins and sells them in an outside area sectioned-off for people who’d rather not travel out to the fields. All pumpkins at the farm cost $1 for up to 5 pounds, $3 for 6-10 pounds, and $5 for 11-15 pounds.

Corn Maize (Sun-Thur 10 a.m.-6 p.m., Fri-Sat 10 a.m.-10 p.m.)

The Maize entrance closes at 10 p.m. on October 27, 30 and 31. As Portland’s original cornfield maze, it hosts 30 thousand visitors annually. Prices are $5 for ages 6-12 and for seniors, and $7 for adults 13 and older. For more information, go to www.portlandmaze.com or call (503) 621-7110.

IMG_2307Haunted Maize (Fri-Sat and the 27th, 30th & 31st 7-10 p.m.)

Dare to wander through the four acres of unlit paths where no flashlights or dogs may guide you, nor are masks allowed so you can leave the frightening up to the capable staff. Tickets cost $10 per person aged six and older. Combo tickets for both mazes cost $13 for youths and $15 for adults.

Hay Rides (Mon-Fri 12-5:30 p.m., Sat-Sun 10 a.m.-5:30 p.m.) Free

Kids and adults equally enjoy tractor-pulled IMG_2252hayrides out to the pumpkins far enough for a fun ride but close enough to walk if you’d prefer. Tractors drop off and pick up riders every few minutes so you don’t have a long wait either way. Separate fields offer mini pumpkins, small to medium pumpkins, and traditional jack-o-lantern sizes. You easily can walk between patches, scoop up a variety of sizes, and load them onto the hay trailer with you on your return to the farm’s main area.

IMG_2314Animal Barn (daily 9 a.m.-6 p.m.) Free

Before you arrive at The Pumpkin Patch, you’ll spot this three-story red barn from the road. The barn houses different animals each year that you can interact with and photograph.

Hay Pyramid and Hay Maze (daily 9 a.m.-6 p.m.) Free

These two activities are perfect for children to work out their energy in a seasonal, farm setting. I’ve seen parents enjoying themselves just as much!

Cow Train (Mon-Fri 12-5 p.m., Sat-Sun 10 a.m.-5:30 p.m.)

For only $2 cash per rider, your little tike experiences a safe ride around the farm. A small tractor pulls the row of tiny carts shaped and painted like cows, each with a traditional cow name stenciled on the side.

The Pumpkin Patch practices IMG_2281sustainable agriculture and is certified by The Food Alliance. For more information, go to www.thepumpkinpatch.com or call (503) 621-3874. The Pumpkin Patch is located at 16511 NW Gillihan Road in Portland, Oregon 97231. Take the Sauvie Island Bridge off Highway 30 onto the island, circle left under the bridge and continue two miles on Gillihan Road.

Sauvie Island is the largest island along the Columbia River and one of the largest river islands in the United States of America. Sauvie Island is about the same size and shape as Manhattan Island in New York, but it is mainly a wildlife refuge and farmland!

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