IN SEARCH OF THE GREAT PUMPKIN

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Our Guide to East County Pumpkin Patches

Article and photos By Daisy Sharrock

Leon Thompson.
Bear Padilla checks out pumpkins at Bates Nut Farm.

There
is something wonderful about autumn. Even here in East County, where the temperature
dips only a fraction compared to much of the country, you can still feel a
tinge of crisp coolness ushering in the holiday season.  First
up on the holiday roster is my family’s hands-down favorite: Halloween.

Autumn makes me think of scarlet maple trees, pumpkin pie, grinning jack-o’-lanterns,
hay rides and corn mazes, yummy pumpkin pie, costumes, and did I mention the
delicious pumpkin pie? What’s not to love? This is family frolic at its
best.  Fortunately, East County has a great line-up of pumpkin patches
with activities to make even the gravest ghoul crack a smile.  So as your
family gets ready to indulge this Halloween, be sure to check out one (or more)
of these neighborhood pumpkin patches and join in the fun!

Autumn makes me think of scarlet maple trees, pumpkin pie, grinning jack-o’-lanterns,
hay rides and corn mazes, yummy pumpkin pie, costumes, and did I mention the
delicious pumpkin pie? What’s not to love? This is family frolic at its
best.  Fortunately, East County has a great line-up of pumpkin patches
with activities to make even the gravest ghoul crack a smile.  So as your
family gets ready to indulge this Halloween, be sure to check out one (or more)
of these neighborhood pumpkin patches and join in the fun!

Bates
Nut Farm

5954 Woods Valley Rd, Valley Center, CA
Phone: (760) 749-3333
(map)

Bates Nut Farm is a delicious family favorite all year round.  During
October, the pumpkin patch will be open daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. In addition
to a wide selection of amazing pumpkins and gourmet nuts, other attractions
include a hay bale maze, gift shop, snack and refreshment stand, picnic area,
hayrides, face painting, pony rides and a petting zoo. Be sure to check
out their other special events
throughout October too, such as the scarecrow
contest and the best pet costume!


Oma’s
Pumpkin Patch at Van Ommering Dairy

14950 El Monte Rd, Lakeside, CA
Phone: (619) 390-2929
(map)  

Oma’s Pumpkin Patch boasts the best deals in town and includes a dairy
tour hayride, petting zoo, maze plus access to Cottonseed Mountain. Open Sept
30th through Nov 1st, from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday. Oma’s
also sponsors the Pumpkin
Patch 5K
on
October 25th with prizes for top finishers and best costumes!

 Summers
Past Farms

15602 Olde Highway 80, El Cajon, CA
Phone: (619) 390-1523
(map)  

If you decide to visit Summers Past Farms, you are in for a real treat. This
local herb farm has a shaded outdoor coffee shop, two lovely gift shops, one
full of handmade soaps and spa products, and the other offering garden wares,
books and fairy paraphernalia of the most enchanting sort.  The Pumpkin
Patch Fair will be held on October 11th and 12th, with face-painting, popcorn,
balloons, a morning glory maze, music, animals and
more
!   


Victoria's Garden

13120 Willow Road, Lakeside, CA 92040
(map)

Victoria’s Garden has it all. In addition to a wonderful pumpkin patch,
it has a bouncy castle, a petting zoo, hayrides, pony rides, a flower maze
and a farm shop. Open daily, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Thursday
and from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Friday through Sunday.


Pinery Pumpkin Patch and Christmas Tree Farm

13421 Highland Valley Road, Rancho Bernardo, CA 92025
Phone: 858-566-7466
(map)

The Pinery Pumpkin Patch is open from October 1st through 31st.  It features
a corn maze, hayrides, snack area, a coloring book full of useful pumpkin growing
tips and a petting zoo.


Wholesome Heritage Farms

21345 San Pasqual Road, Escondido, CA 92025
Phone: 760-746-8822
(map)

Wholesome Heritage Farms pumpkin patch is open through October 31st, noon
to 6 p.m. daily.  There is a corn stock maze and petting corral, tortoise
races, a picnic area and fresh organic produce.


Mountain Valley Ranch

842 Highway 78, Ramona
Phone: (760) 788-8703
(map)

Mountain Valley Ranch offers a wide variety of pumpkins, farm animals, hayrides,
a corn maze, spiced apple cider and other goodies for nibbling at their farm
concession stand.  Open daily in October, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Daisy Sharrock is a writer, photographer, and contented East County
resident of three years.