Return to Peterson's Farm Pumpkin Patch
October 7, 2012Posted by pamela |
The last few years we've bought our pumpkins at Peterson's Farm in Petaluma, which offers not only a wide variety of pumpkins, but a fantastic old-fashioned family farm experience as well. We visited Peterson's yesterday, and it was bustling! We joined several other families in searching through the pumpkins scattered over several acres of rambling pumpkin patch and visiting the animals who live on the farm.
You'll find Peterson's Farm in northern Petaluma, at 636 Gossage Avenue, off of Petaluma Boulevard North. The area is full of suburban bustle, but when you turn up Gossage and head over the hill, you quickly find yourself in a quiet rural neighborhood. The turn into Peterson's Farm kind of sneaks up on you, so be on the lookout for their sign on the right side of the road; start looking after you pass the intersection with Gossage Way. Turn right onto the gravel drive and head around the barn and park in the back.
Probably the first thing you'll notice is that this is a real farm, complete with old vehicles, ancient dilapidated barns and chicken coops, and various agricultural supplies and implements scattered around. Don't let this put you off. This is a genuine working farm, not some side-of-the-road pumpkin patch set up for the season. Of course this is also why an outing here is so much fun.
When you get out of the car it's likely that you'll be greeted by the small herd of shaggy cows that live in the back field. These are Scottish Highland cattle, and the strategically placed buckets of alfalfa cubes (cattle cookies?) welcome you to feed them. Sadly, Woolly Monster, the big red curly-haired cow that we visited every year, passed away recently from old age, but her grandchildren still live on the farm.
There are other animals on the farm for children to visit, including ducks, geese, chickens, bunnies, ponies, and a colony of bees. You can also purchase their products in the form of eggs and honey. You're free to wander around the farm and investigate the goings-on. It's not all that big, so it's perfect for families with small children. Small signs on the barns and animal pens tell you a little bit about who lives there. Don't miss the poultry yard near the pony barn, where little cups of chicken scratch are provided so children can feed the hens.
Peterson's main pumpkin patch is located out back by the parking area. It's an overgrown rambling field filled with vines, pumpkins, and sunflowers. Here you'll find a variety of pumpkins, including the standard orange jack-o-lantern variety, the dark orange and flat rouge vif d'etampes "Cinderalla" pumpkins, and an enormous white variety called Polar Bear. Hunt through the field and find and pick your perfect pumpkins. Red Radio Flyer wagons, wheelbarrows, and carts are available at the barn to carry back your load, and you can also borrow a pair of clippers to help detach stubborn pumpkins from their vines.
Haul your pumpkins back to the barn and Ettamarie Peterson, the farm's owner, will measure your pumpkins and tally up the price. She's a retired schoolteacher as well as a great-grandmother, and she's really good with kids.
One of the best things about the Peterson's Farm experience has always been the price. This year they've raised their prices to be more in line with other pumpkin patches in the area. They're still less expensive than most of their competitors, but it's not quite the bargain it's been in previous years. Pumpkin prices range from $1 for small examples to $30 for largest ones, which is comparable to other local pumpkin patches. It's not as cheap as getting your pumpkin at the supermarket, but then you can't feed cows, pet ponies, or look inside a beehive at Trader Joe's, can you?
Inside the barn, you can check out the farm's colony of bees in a demonstration hive with clear plexiglass walls. Kids enjoy watching the bees at work and as they fly to and from the hive via a tube that connects it to the outside, as well as looking for the queen bee, who's hanging out in there somewhere. Mrs. Peterson can help you find her. You can browse the award-winning honey for sale, as well as beeswax items and free range eggs. All products at Peterson's Farm, including the pumpkins, are pesticide- and herbicide-free.
There are no bounce houses, no slides, no gift shops selling Halloween decor or trinkets, no haunted houses, no snack bars, and no gimmicks. That's part of what makes this one of our favorite pumpkin patches.
If you go
To get to Peterson's Farm, take 101 north to the last Petaluma/Penngrove exit. Go left and head over the freeway onto Petaluma Boulevard North. Follow it south until you reach Gossage Avenue—it's your first right after the Cinnabar Theater. If you see the Petaluma outlet mall on your left then you've gone too far. Follow Gossage up the hill until you see the small sign for Peterson's pumpkins. They're at 636 Gossage Avenue.
Peterson's farm has restroom facilities and small picnic area in case you want to bring your lunch. Since you'll be tramping through a farm field, feeding animals, picking pumpkins, make sure everyone wears shoes and clothes that they don't mind getting dirty. This is a farm, after alll.
The farm is open for pumpkin picking daily in October from 10 am to 6 pm.
For more information on Peterson's Farm, visit their website at www.petersonsfarm.com