18 October 2013

Seasons Greetings From The Pumpkin Patch

Last Saturday we made what will very likely become the annual trek to Underwood Farms in Moorpark for the Fall Harvest Festival. It would be a gross underestimate to say The Bug was excited to make the trek to a good pumpkin patch before Halloween. Halloween is very likely the favorite holiday of the entire year for my two people.

The Bug started talking about what she was going to be for Halloween last November. This is how serious these two are about it all. She has not yet, still made a firm decision about what she is going to be for Halloween but we will look forward to a final decision soon.

Underwood Farms was a perfect place to visit for pre-Halloween activities. I prefer to think of October as the time of celebrating the harvest but for my two people it is all about Halloween, jack-o-lanterns, costumes and scary things. Here's a laugh for you, when we were leaving Saturday evening I wondered why my parents never took us to a working farm/pumpkin patch when we were growing up. Then I remembered we lived on a working farm and our annual trek to the pumpkin patch was just down the road to another farmer's plant shop and pumpkin patch each fall.

Very funny realization about my childhood, thinking I'd missed out on something that it seemed like everyone else did then realizing I was living it every day. We did not pay to go and see what life was like on a farm or orchard. We just went and worked that way every day. Visiting a "working farm," going to pick apples each fall at a "pick and pay" -- shoot those are activities for city people who drive out to the farmland to see what life on the other side is like. My life was the other side. Instead we drove to the city to ride an elevator or escalator and other "city" things.

At Underwood Farms there were lots of different games people could play to win a small pumpkin, you could take a tractor ride around the farm, shoot corn cob cannons, tomato slingshots, visit the petting zoo and see pig races. There was also live music most of the day, fantastic food vendors and lots of fresh produce and pumpkins and gourds of all kinds for purchase.

Last weekend we were there for antique tractor weekend and it was sweet to see old tractors my dad and grandpa drove around our farm when I was a little girl. Now that we no longer have a farm, it stings a bit. When I was about five years old I learned how to steer the tractor in first gear on the flat fields while my dad and grandpa stacked hay on a trailer hooked on the back. My dad would stand at the side of the tractor and holler directions to me, especially when making turns so that I wouldn't jackknife the trailer and dump all the hay off the side. We always loved to ride next to the seat with my dad or grandpa when we were very tiny.

At Underwood Farms, at the very end of the day we picked out a nice big pumpkin. In a sea of robust pumpkins it didn't seem that big but on our porch it looks a lot bigger than any pumpkin I ever got as a kid. My two terrific artist people plan on having a meeting to discuss carving artwork in the coming days. Apparently carving a pumpkin will not be a one-day affair in this family as it was in mine growing up.

It was fun to revisit facets of my childhood and celebrate the season of harvest. I think we all had a fun day and it was great to get out of the city for a few hours. Getting a great deal on a pumpkin, enjoying all-you-can eat shave ice, stinky goats and a tractor ride made for a very fun day. I am sure we'll be back next year if not before that. A season pass costs about the same as what we paid for the one day visit.

Did your family go to a farm and pick apples or pumpkins when you were a kid? Is this a tradition you have carried on?

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