By Becca Sligh
Paso Robles Press Contributor
When the leaves change and the pumpkin spice lattes make their comeback at local coffee shops, that can only mean one thing: It’s fall, y’all!
One of the first fall holidays of the season is the widely anticipated Halloween night. People young and old dressing in costumes to trick-or-treat with the hopes of securing more candy than one can consume in a single sitting is just a social right of passage to kick off the harvest festivities. And nothing screams Halloween more than searching through a big ole’ patch of pumpkins and finding the perfect one to take home and carve.
Upon entering into the spooky season, we spoke with North County’s top pumpkin patches, which are both set to open Oct. 1 and stay open until Halloween, Oct. 31.
River K Pumpkin Patch, located in Paso Robles off of North River Road, not only offers pumpkins but also offers a corn maze and even a haunted house. What started as a 4-H project in Goleta in 1969 by Valerie Reynolds and her brother soon became a seasonal family-owned and operated business when they moved to Paso Robles in 1995.
“The pumpkin patch is basically all run by myself,” Valerie says. “My nephew does the corn maze, but my almost 91-year-old Dad and 89-year-old Mom still do a lot of the farming.”
The patch in itself is about 4 acres. On average, they estimate about 1,000 people come out to the patch in October.
“It’s wonderful when the kids come out and get to see how the pumpkins are grown and get to go pick them themselves,” Valerie says. “We give families a pair of clippers and a wagon and they can go out and pick whatever they want to.” Valerie also mentions they have lots of pre-cut pumpkins available as well.
In addition to the 33 varieties of pumpkins, River K has six varieties of winter squash and a variety of decorative gourds, too.
Jack Creek Farms is a family-owned and operated farm in Templeton.
“We’re proud to share the history with the guests who visit the farm,” says Becky Sumpter.
Becky, who is a part of the fifth generation to run Jack Creek Farms, also mentions that being such a longtime family-owned farm is also what drives a lot of the decisions that are made as to what is grown and how it’s grown.
“It’s our goal to leave the land in better shape for the future generations than we received it,” Becky adds.
Although Jack Creek Farms is open seasonally from Memorial Day through January, a busy season is definitely during the fall when they harvest their pumpkins and other fall varietals. Sumpter reports that, unfortunately, due to all the rain this year, the u-pick pumpkin patch received too much water; therefore, pumpkins will be pre-picked for guests this year. However, the apple orchard will still be available for guests to pick their own apples as well as a variety of seasonal fruits and vegetables.
Will you be visiting the pumpkin patches this October? Send your pumpkin photos to firstname.lastname@example.org for a chance to be featured in a future issue of Paso Robles Press. We look forward to seeing your creations!
River K Pumpkin Patch
5670 N River Rd, Paso Robles
Jack Creek Farms
5000 Highway 46 West Templeton
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