Where can you go pumpkin picking west Sonoma County this year?
By Katherine Minkiewicz-Martine, Staff Writer, SoCoNews, September 30, 2021
Sept. 22 marked the first day of fall and several local pumpkin patches in Sonoma County have opened or are preparing to open for the fall pumpkin season.
Foggy River Farm
Foggy River Farm, led by county supervisor Lynda Hopkins and her husband Emmett Hopkins, is open this year from now until Halloween.
The Russian River valley farm, which has been farmed for four generations, has a huge selection of carving, decorating and edible pumpkins. They also have a wide variety of speckled and striped gourds in various textures, shapes and sizes.
Decorative gourds and pumpkins include wild mini gourds with warts and wings, mini pumpkins, turban squash and large edible heirloom pumpkins such as Cinderella and Marinia di Chioggia.
Winter squash varieties include the classics like Butternut, Delicata, Kabocha, Spaghetti and Winter Luxury.
Other fall products for sale include heirloom dry beans, cornmeal, ornamental corn cobs and popcorn.
The countryside patch doesn’t offer any hayrides or corn mazes, however, this year they are offering a fun new activity for kids. Hopkins’ family has cut and painted a variety of magical cardboard critters and placed them in different locations across the farm as part of the fall scavenger hunt activity.
If you visit the patch and find all of the fairytale creatures you can win a mini pumpkin.
For visiting the farm, signing up for a reservation ahead of time is recommended. Families can pick from various experience packages from basic pumpkin picking to a family carving activity. Reserving a time slot online also gets you priority entry. The basic $20 reservation gets you a $25 credit to spend at the pumpkin patch.
You can either pick your own pumpkins from the vine or choose from a selection of pre-picked pumpkins.
Other purchasing options include a family decorative package, a family edible and decorative package, a carving party package and a “pantry for the apocalypse” package where you can pick out 20 different edible squashes. Squash will typically last about two to six months in a pantry.
If you want to donate pumpkins from the farm to families in need, you can do so on their website.
Foggy River Farm is located at 8291 Eastside Road, Healdsburg. Pumpkin patch hours are Friday through Sunday, 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Group reservations are available on Wednesdays and Thursdays.
The farm is currently accepting reservations through Oct. 17 and will open more dates later next month.
For farm or pumpkin picking questions, call 707-836-3824.
While Papa’s was closed last year due to COVID-19, this year they will be reopening starting Oct. 1 and will be open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
The patch on Occidental Road is located right next door to Apple-A-Day farm. Papa’s pumpkins features features seven varieties of pumpkins that you can pick right off the vine. The farm is located in the shadows of old growth redwoods and has a more peaceful pumpkin picking atmosphere than other larger patches.
Tours are typically available by appointment. Papa’s Pumpkin Patch is located at 13110 Occidental Road, Sebastopol. For more information about the patch, call 707-874-9079.
Hale’s Apple Farm
Hale’s Apple Farm has been in Dave Hale’s family for over 120 years and while they’ve historically grown apples, they also grow pumpkins, edible squash and tomatoes, which are available from September until the first frost or rain.
They also sell fresh and frozen apple cider made from apples from neighboring Apple-A-Day farms.
The Hale’s 20-acre farm in Sebastopol is farmed traditionally with minimal pesticides and their gargantuan variety of apples are available at their farm stand and at several farmers markets across the Bay Area.
Pumpkins and squash are sold at the farm stand only and are available from October to November. Varieties include Cinderella, Po-ke-mon, Solid Gold, Sweet Meat, Sugar Pie, Jarrahdale, Full Moon, Kabocha, Atlantic Giant, Red Kuri, Blue Hubbard, Swan Gourd, Snake Gourd, Gremlins and Butternut.
In terms of apples, they grow and sell everything from the classics — Gravenstein, Honeycrisp, Granny Smith, Fuji and Pink Lady — to lesser known and more unique apples such as the Winter Banana Apple and the Belle de Boskoop Apple, the most tart apple on the farm according to their website.
Their farm stand at 1526 Gravenstein Hwy North, Sebastopol, is open daily August through November, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Hale’s Apple Farm is located just north of Sebastopol on Hwy. 116. (Photo courtesy Hale’s Apple Farm)
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