You can always find pumpkins at every grocery store this time of year, but it’s a lot more fun to go and pick one out at a pumpkin patch. There are a lot of great local farms offering a wide range of pumpkins, squash, gourds, and exciting harvest-themed activities.
In the Merced-Planada-Plainsburg-Le Grand area, the Bear Creek Pumpkin Patch has teamed up with the Vista Ranch and Cellars this year. They’ve set up a beautiful and extensive selection of pumpkins near the main parking lot at the Vista. Varieties include carving pumpkins of all sizes, heirloom pumpkins, mini pumpkins, and colorful squash and gourds. You can also buy local produce and taste local wine during your visit. Picnic tables are available and wood oven pizzas are served from 11 AM to 4 PM on weekends. Educational field trips and private parties can be scheduled in advance.
Location: 7326 East Highway 140, Merced
Hours open: Daily 9 AM – 6 PM
More information: (209) 722-8200 / http://vistacellars.com/pumpkin-patch/
Located right inside Merced, the Merced College U-Pick Pumpkin Patch sells pumpkins raised on the Merced College Farm, with sale proceeds benefitting the farm program.
Location: Community College Drive on the Merced College Campus
For more information, contact Steve Bell (209) 384-6251
Proceeds benefit the Merced College Farm
Located between Merced and Atwater, Hunter Farms is again offering an exciting range of pumpkins and fun activities.
Centered around a historic barn, Hunter Farms has a lot of great backdrops for family photos, plus hay rides, a corn maze, a petting zoo, a trike track, a hay pyramid to climb, a time-travel tractor train ride, and panning for gemstones. There’s also room to eat a picnic lunch during your visit. School field trips, birthday parties, and other group events can be scheduled in advance.
Location: 2985 SP Avenue, Atwater
Hours: 10 AM – 6 PM weekdays, 10 AM – dusk
More information: (209) 394-4444http://www.hunterfamilyfarms.com/pumpkinpatch.html
The Los Banos Pumpkin Patch is the place to find great pumpkins on the Westside. In addition to a big selection of pumpkins, there are backdrops for family photos and a unique “barrel train” that runs on weekends. Proceeds from the sales help kids attend camp. School field trips can be scheduled by calling in advance.
Location: Paradiso Motors Parking Lot on Pacheco Blvd(Highway 152) at the I Street intersection
Hours: Monday-Friday noon – 9 PM, Saturday 10 AM – 9 PM, Sunday 11:30 ish (after church) – 9 PM
More information: (209) 826-7575
Turlock’s R.A.M. Farms is the perfect destination if you live in the north part of our county. They offer more than 60 varieties of pumpkins, squash, and gourds, plus a gigantic 15 acre corn maze! Open every day during daylight hours, you can also choose to explore it in the dark on a special “Freaky Flashlight Night” – offered Friday and Saturday nights. Halloween-themed “Movies Under the Stars” are also offered on Friday and Saturday evenings starting at dusk. Other attractions include a “scary shed” and pumpkin bowling. Birthday parties and educational trips can be scheduled in advance.
Location: 716 N. Daubenberger Road, Turlock
Hours: Monday - Thursday 10 AM – dusk, Friday – Saturday 10 AM – 10 PM, Sunday 10 AM – 8 PM
Contact information / more information: (209) 668-2425 / http://www.ramfarms.com/pumpkin-patch/