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By Miriam Raftery

October 27, 2010 (Valley Center) – Bates Nut Farm in Valley Center is famed for its giant pumpkins—some topping the scales at over 100 pounds. You can also find Jack-o-lantern pumpkins, mini-pumpkins, and much more. In addition, the farm offers tractor hayrides, a straw maze, pony rides, petting corral, farm zoo, costume contest and scarecrow contests—plus a shop chockfull of sweets, nuts, other goodies and gifts galore.

The pumpkin patch is open daily through Halloween from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. On weekends, extra attractions include rock climbing, facepainting, BBQ, ice cream, kettle corn and live entertainment.

A weekend pumpkin package for $8.75 includes a jack-o-lantern pumpkin, tractor hayride, and straw maze, or purchase these items individually . (Other pumpkins are individually priced; opt from pre-picked—or pick your own.) All weekday attractions are also available weekends. Weekday attractions include trator hayrides for $2 (free for children under 18 months), pony rides $5, straw maze $2, petting corral $3, free farm zoo with picnicking, and hamburgers/hot dogs provided by Valley Center optimists. Some activities are cash-only.

Bates Nut Farm is located at 15954 Woods Valley Road in Valley Center (east of Escondido in the northeast portion of San Diego County). Founded by Gilbert and Beatrice Bates in 1921, the farm includes more than 100 acres and its shop sells nuts from all over the world including raw, roasted, spiced and unsalted varieties. For more information, visit


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