Experience Life on the Farm at McClelland's Dairy Pumpkin Patch
October 6, 2013Posted by pamela |
McClelland's Dairy is a family-run, certified organic dairy farm located just west of Petaluma, and their annual Halloween pumpkin patch just keeps getting better and better. Compared to other pumpkin patches around Petaluma, McClelland's is a relatively low-key affair, but it offers a lot of fun for families, especially if you have small children or are just looking for a more genuine farm experience. If you haven't been there, it's definitley worth checking out.
The entrance to McClelland's can sneak up on you a little, so keep an eye out for their signs as you head down Bodega Road into the Two Rock area west of Petaluma. Turn into the dirt driveway and follow it over a little bridge to the dairy farm. On your right you'll see their three-acre pumpkin patch where you're welcome to go pick that perfect Halloween pumpkin off the vine. Parking is available on your left, near the big chicken tractors.
In addition to u-pick pumpkins, there's a hay maze, a big box full of wheat grains (perfect for digging—buckets and shovels provided), and a petting zoo where you can meet some gentle and friendly farm animals, including goats, calves, and a miniature horse. Don't miss the large arrangement of pumpkins and straw bales—it's perfect for a fall family photo op. You can even participate in a scarecrow building contest. All these attractions are free!
For an added fee kids can jump around in one of two different bounce houses, tour the spooky haunted hay maze, and take a tractor-drawn hay ride. Admission is $4 each, or for $10 you can buy a wristband for unlimited fun and play all day.
When you're ready to go pick pumpkins, grab a wheelbarrow and head out to the field. You'll find pumpkins of all sizes, from enourmous to tiny. There are several different varieties and colors, too. Also available to pick in the pumpkin patch are different kinds of squash, gourds, and even tomatoes. Pumpkin prices range from $2 for small examples to $30 for giant monsters. Small gourds can be had for under $1, and our kids had a great time searching out interesting examples.
Make sure you visit the farm store, where you can shop for organic dairy products like McClelland's highly regarded European-style organic butter, free range eggs, pumpkin ice cream (from Spring Hill Farm down the road), snacks, and McClelland's Dairy merchandise. You can also look through a large window and watch cows being milked in the parlor. There's another viewing window in the building adjacent to the farm store where you can get a different view of the milking action. This was a big hit with the kids and they really enjoyed watching the how cows get milked.
If you want to learn even more about the farm, tours will be offered on Saturdays and Sundays at 11:30 am, 1 pm, and 3 pm. On the tours, you can learn about the history of the farm and how animals are cared for, pet babies in the nursery, and even try milking a cow by hand. Farm tours cost $15 for visitors ages 13 years and older and $7 for children. Reserve your farm tour spots online, since tours often sell out.
You can spend the whole day out at McClelland's—grab some lunch, go on a farm tour, hunt for pumpkins and gourds in the pumpkin patch, play, and more. It's a great addition to the fall pumpkin patch lineup, and a lot of fun to visit.
If You Go
McClelland's Dairy is located at 6475 Bodega Avenue, just outside Petaluma. To get there, take Highway 101 to the East Washington Street exit in Petaluma. Turn left (west) at the stop light and follow East Washington Street west. Washington Street becomes Bodega Avenue. Keep following Bodega Avenue west and keep an eye out for McClelland's pumpkin patch signs; they'll let you know when you're getting close.
Drinks, snacks, and souvenirs are sold in the farm store; credit cards are accepted with a $5 minimum purchase. There's also a food truck at the farm selling treats like grilled cheese sandwiches, milkshakes, and coffee. There's also a big covered picnic area where you can eat lunch or just relax and watch the kids play.
The pumpkin patch is open Saturdays and Sundays from 10 am–6 pm through the month of October, weather permitting. Admission is free. For more information, visit www.mcclellandsdairy.com or call (707) 664-0452. You can also keep up with pumpkin patch happenings on their Facebook page.