October: the time of year when store-bought gourds begin to line the steps of neighbouring homes and fallen maple leaves give a satisfying crunch beneath your boots. It’s the month where we bust out our cozy knit sweaters and foamy lattes to fight against air that’s suddenly grown a little crisper. It’s four weeks of fake cobwebs, clever costumes, and tiny packets of chocolate. It’s also the month of everything Pumpkin.
With pumpkin spice lattes advertised on coffee shop chalkboards, carved pumpkins guarding front doors, and pumpkin smelling hand-soaps in the bathroom, it can be rather difficult to avoid these giant, orange spheres. We can buy them at the grocery store (whole or in pie form) or lug them home from the farmers market. But, for a true October adventure, there’s only one way to find the perfect pumpkin: you have to go to the Pumpkin Patch.
Because seriously, is there anything more “October-y” than a muddy field full of bright, orange pumpkins?
And so, with the weather network finally forecasting a rain free Saturday, we grabbed our boots and headed for the Richmond Pumpkin Patch (officially known as Richmond Country Farms.) With farm animals, wagon rides, live music, a train, corn maze, and a whole field of fresh pumpkins to choose from, it’s the perfect family friendly, fall activity!
Part of the pumpkin-hunting fun is the journey out to the field! Once we’d purchased our admission, we made our way towards the large wagons pulled by individual tractors. Serenaded by songs like “Old MacDonald had a Farm” and “She’ll be coming ’round the mountain,” the ride from the main farm area to the pumpkin field is quick and interactive. Making your way past penned farm animals and miscellaneous Halloween decorations, you’re eventually dropped off beside a field glowing in orange.
After finding the best squash in the field and returning via wagon to the farm, each pumpkin-toting individual also gets to pick out a fresh, BC grown, Spartan apple. Yum!
And while the Pumpkins may be the featured event, there’s several other activities to keep the family entertained, such as the live bandstand music complete with giant dancing vegetables, a miniature train, donut stand, and a variety of farm animals. For kids old enough to walk there’s a tent piled high with hay to jump around in, and don’t forget that just outside the main gate, there’s also a Farm Market loaded with fresh, local produce.
Since we occasionally struggle to come up with toddler-friendly activities for the whole family, I was thrilled at how well this outdoor family activity catered to our one-year-old. While the experience may be more educational for older preschoolers, our little guy loved this new experience. (Because honestly, what toddler doesn’t enjoy walking through mud and inspecting giant squash???)
This visit was so entertaining, it was quickly decided that this pumpkin patch adventure was going to have to become an annual activity. And so, to help me remember that “just because shoes are called “boots” doesn’t mean that they’re waterproof,” I’ve jotted down a few tips for our next trip:
Things to keep in mind when heading to the Pumpkin Patch:
1. Be sure to wear proper footwear / rain gear as the field can get quite muddy. (We avoided the corn maze completely because our shoes were not up to handling the ankle deep mud.)
2. Some patches have “hidden” costs beyond the regular admission. (Ex: The miniature train that runs around Richmond Country Farm is not included in your price of admission. Other pumpkin patches may require you to pay extra for “over-sized” pumpkins, etc.) When visiting, be prepared for a few extra costs.
3. Weekends are busy (and may have an added admission cost). Be sure to arrive early to avoid the crowds!
For a true October experience, don’t forget to visit your local Pumpkin Patch and hunt for your next great pumpkin!