Peter Pumpkin Patch at Spring Hill Farm
October 7, 2012Posted by pamela |
One of our favorite local pumpkin patches is the annual Peter Pumpkin Patch at Spring Hill Farm, located just outside of Petaluma. Peter Pumpkin Patch is a classic old-time pumpkin patch that's kind of out in the middle of nowhere (which is part of the fun). It's on a real working farm that produces the yummy Spring Hill Jersey cheese that you may have seen in farmers' markets or stores around town.
We've been going there for over six years, and we've watched it grow in size and scope to be a major autumn production. Peter Pumpkin Patch is also quite popular with our readers, as it was the runaway winner in our 2009 Pumpkin Patch Poll, and first runner up in the 2010 and 2011 polls.
Peter Pumpkin Patch has plenty of pumpkins—you'll find pre-picked specimens in abundance, and a vast field of on-the-vine pick-it-yourself pumpkins, too. Wheelbarrows are available for you to haul your load back to the cash register. They also have Cinderalla pumpkins, and white, green, and other less traditional pumpkins, as well as gourds, squash, and more.
You can also dig your own potatoes in their potato field, where several different varieties are growing. Tools, bags, and some potato digging pointers are provided. It's dirty, but fun.
They also sell cold drinks, cheese, picnic baskets, and—best of all—homemade ice cream. Their ice cream is made from the same Jersey cow milk that goes into their cheese. The brown Jersey cows are smaller and produce less milk than your standard black-and-white Holsteins, but their milk is higher in fat content than Holstein milk, so their dairy products are richer and tastier. Ice cream flavors offered (at $1.50 each) include vanilla, chocolate, and our favorite, pumpkin. They offer free samples of the many varieties of cheese produced by the farm, too.
One of the reasons we love Peter Pumpkin Patch so much is that it's located at a real farm, and it's devoid of things like the jumpy houses and inflatables that you see at a lot of other places. That doesn't mean that there isn't plenty to do, though. Activities and attractions here include farm animals for children to visit and pet, the opportunity to milk a cow, a hay maze, a hay pyramid to climb, a display of antique buggies and wagons, tractor-drawn wagon rides (which can drop you off in the pumpkin or potato fields). All the activities are free. Pumpkin prices at Peter Pumpkin Patch start at 50¢ (or three for $1) for mini "Munchkin" pumpkins, and jack-o-lantern pumpkins cost anywhere from $5 to $25.
While you're there, you'll certainly notice Spring Hill Farm's iconic white farmhouse. Interestingly, it was ordered by the original owners from the Sears-Roebuck catalogue in 1877, and was delivered via train in kit form. It's currently the residence of Spring Hill Farm's owner Larry Peter.
If you go
The Peter Pumpkin Patch has grown in size and popularity over the years. It's a lot of fun, and it's well managed and well thought out, too. You'll find plenty of free parking, and clean port-a-potties with hand washing stations (especially necessary after petting all those farm animals), and a friendly helpful staff, as well as a huge selection of pumpkins. Peter Pumpkin Patch is open daily through the month of October from 10 am to dusk.
To get there, take Highway 101 north to Petaluma. Take the Washington Street exit and head west over the freeway. Follow Washington until it becomes Bodega Avenue, then follow Bodega Avenue to the Two Rock area west of Petaluma. Turn left onto Spring Hill Road and follow it until you come to Spring Hill Farm and the Peter Pumpkin Patch, which will be on your right. It will be very difficult to miss—just look for all the pumpkins.
For more information, visit them online at www.springhillcheese.com. To arrange a group visit for 10 or more call them at (707) 762-3446.