Pumpkin Farms & Harvest Festivals

Parent Q&A

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  • Pumpkin Patch for Toddler

    (6 replies)

    Hello! I am hoping someone will have a recommendation for a good pumpkin patch in the Berk/El Cerrito/Richmond area for an 18 month old. It would be great if they had a petting zoo, some activities, rides, etc. Thank you! 

    Speer Family Pumpkin Patch in Alameda.  https://speerfamilyfarms.com/

    There's one in Alameda that I just took my 17-month-old and 3-year-old to and it had a petting zoo and big slides and bouncy houses and a little train. It was cute. The tickets were a little expensive but my kids had a great time. It's Speer Family Farms https://speerfamilyfarms.com/ Alameda Point Pumpkin Patch

    We just went to G&M farms in Livermore. Do not recommend--there were Disneyland-long lines and nothing fun at the end of them (one pony for a short pony ride costing $8, a "tractor race" that had parents pushing their kids on trikes around a track). And "free admission" ended up being very expensive in ride tokens.

    We live in El Cerrito and drove to Grossi Family Farm in Novato. They are a small operation, so no rides. But they do have a hay bale maze, hay tower, corn pit, and a "bunny village" where the kids can go in and pet bunnies. It was plenty of entertainment for my almost 3 year old. I also liked that you could walk into the field and pick your own pumpkin. They also have pre-picked pumpkins if you're not into that.

    I do NOT recommend the Alameda pumpkin patch that two other commenters have mentioned. They have very low safety standards. There are no attendants on any of the bounce houses and my son fell off one on his face onto the concrete and we had to take him to the ER. Check reviews on Yelp. 

    In a previous year, we did go to an actual family farm in Brentwood, Three Nunns, which was lovely. 

    I liked G&M farm in Livermore for the free admission, free parking and they have a large pumpkin patch for my toddler to freely roam. My daughter is 18 months and she was able to do the small hay bale maze with me. There was also a corn kernel pit (like a sensory pit) that my daughter enjoyed. Some animals go look at but not pet. We did not do any of the rides since the lines were long and we did not want to spend money. There were picnic tables so we ate a small snack we brought there. Overall, good for a free activity for a quick 1-1.5hrs, but can be pricey if you buy tokens for rides

  • Apple Hill Recommendations

    (2 replies)

    My family is planning a weekend trip to Apple Hill near Placerville.  We've been to the area before, but not since our kiddo (currently 1 year old) was born.  What are your favorite Apple Hill spots to visit with kids at this time of year?

    I have some family in Placerville, I don’t know the specific places but I did hear there’s no apples this year. Sorry to be a bummer I’m sure it will still be beautiful 🤩 

    Hi, we've been going every year since our kiddo turned 2. High Hill Ranch gets crowded but is good for kids and has lots of activity. It is near Fudge Factory (same parking). There is also Hidden Star which has a "Kids Town" in back, which is toddler sized houses to go in and out - just keep an eye on your toddler. For lunch, Larsen's is great with lots of options and also has a big lawn across the street where you can picnic - lots of room to run around if it's hard to sit still, just be aware that they are closed on Saturdays (Lawn is still there though, if you brought a picnic with you or want to get running around time). I like O'Halloran's because they have a huge pumpkin patch; they also sell apples in bins low enough to the ground that a toddler can see/reach. You can do more research online -- https://applehill.com/fun-4-kids/

Archived Q&A and Reviews


Low-key Pumpkin Patch near Oakland?

Oct 2013

Any leads on a fun, but small, pumpkin patch near Oakland for an outing with a 2-year old? We don't want/need bounce houses, gigantic inflatable slides, corn mazes, etc. Just a big empty lot full of pumpkins to choose from. It seems like all the low-key patches have disappeared. (If you grew up around here - think the patch on the empty lot at Piedmont and Pleasant Valley before it turned into a condo complex, or in the parking lot at the old co-op on Telegraph and Ashby before it turned into Whole Paycheck.) I've heard there is a pumpkin patch at the Peralta Junction pop-up in West Oakland, so any feedback on that would also be helpful. Ready to carve

The Wildwood Dads' Club in Piedmont has a low-key patch on Moraga Ave. at Coaches Field. From what I remember it was a little pricier than grocery store pumpkins, but it's for a good cause. Details here: http://piedmont.patch.com/events/wildwood-dads-club-pumpkin-patch. Also, at age 2, my kids were just as happy to pick one out of the bin at the grocery store - it's the choosing more than the environment at that age. Keeping It Simple

Mountain View Cemetery has a free pumpkin patch on 10/27 after the Halloween parade on Piedmont Avenue. They usually have a bouncy house, but it's otherwise pretty low-key and fun and kids get to choose a free pumpkin. http://www.mountainviewcemetery.org/pumpkin.html Pumpkin Fan

Piedmont still has a pumpkin patch! It's small and perfect for little kids. The Wildwood Dads (elementary school dad volunteers club) run it at Coaches Field on Moraga Ave near Maxwelton Road. Weekdays 4-6p and weekends 10-6. Pumpkin fan

Harvest activities for kids and families

Oct 2009

We would like to plumb the depths of the Bay Area's best harvest activities and to share in the bounty of the fun activities your family loves at this time of year. We would be willing to go a little outside the bay area too for something really fun. We have a 2nd grader and a kindergartener and are looking for activities for our family and also for our sons' classes to attend together with their families. (We are NOT looking for Halloween specific activities). We'd need to know the activity, where it is, and maybe some contact info like a website. Suzie

if you have never been to the Harvest Festival at Ardenwood Farms, you will have a blast. This is my family's favorite harvest activity, even still as teenagers! October 10 and 11: Harvest Festival, Ardenwood Historic Farm http://www.ebparks.org/parks/ardenwood Love ardenwood!

We love Ardenwood Historic Farms in Fremont. It is a working historic organic farm and has so much to offer during the harvest season. On the weekends the naturalists offer a living history with victorian home tour, working blacksmith shop, animal farm (pigs, goats, chickens, sheep, etc)., and my favorite part the horse drawn train. They also have a fruit/veggie stand at the entrance, and this year the pumpkin patch is back for the month of October. They are part of EB regional parks and their website is http://www.ebparks.org/parks/ardenwood Your kids are the perfect age to just love this place. I'm excited to go every year. A.

You *must* visit Ardenwood Farm's Harvest festival on October 10-11! We've gone the past two years with our now five-year-old and our whole family had a great time. You can pick Indian corn, press cider, ride on a horse-drawn train, visit with farm animals -- the list goes on and on. The first year we went they had a pumpkin farm set up outside but last year that wasn't there. I'm not sure if it will happen this year. Wendy

Ardenwood Farm - http://www.ebparks.org/parks/ardenwood Have fun!

Our family has gone to the Ardenwood Farm Harvest Festival in Fremont for years. This year's event is Oct. 10-11. Ardenwood, part of the East Bay Parks system, is a historical Victorian-era working farm, and during the festival kids get to help with the corn harvest. There are exhibits (e.g., apple cider pressing), crafts (e.g., corn husk dolls), farm animals to visit, music, and food. It's a great time. cindy

Pumpkin Patch or Apple Orchard near El Sobrante?

Sept 2009

I'm helping to plan a first grade field trip this fall, and I'm searching for a pumpkin patch or apple orchard close to El Sobrante (15-20 minutes away, I hope). Can you help with ideas, please? I've found great reviews of places 45 minutes away (Petaluma, Brentwood, Clayton..), but no closer. I'm trying to find info on the pumpkin patch that has previously been held near Golden Gate Fields. Any other recommendations for pumpkin patches or apple orchards with a more harvest, less hype feel? Thanks so much! sh

When my son was in kindergarten, we went on a class field trip to Owayoh Old Apple Orchard, right in El Sorbrante. The kids had a great time. It's at 4165 Garden Lane and the telephone number is (510) 223-4770. As I remember, it's pretty near the intersection El Portal. Ann

Looking for a great urban pumpkin patch

Sept 2009

My son is now 2.5 years old and really excited to carve a pumpkin. I'd like to take him somewhere that's more interesting than just the grocery store to buy one, but my only ''natural'' experience is in Half Moon Bay, and for a variety of reasons I don't think we can make it all the way down there. Can anyone recommend a closer lot that's fun but convenient to Berkeley/Oakland? Looking for the great urban pumpkin patch

There are a bunch of pumpkin patches in Petaluma which is about an hour and change from Berkeley/Oakland - some off the freeway that are like playgrounds and others off the track a bit that are like farms. We like Adobe, Petersons, and the Nicasio Valley patches because they are less commercial - some less than others. We also like the G Farms corn maze and pumpkin patch in Livermore (about 45 minutes) and the Tolay Fall Festival in Sonoma (about 1.5 hours). G is more commercial but still very kid friendly and fun. The Tolay event is so sweet and magical that it shouldn't be missed. My website, www.kiddiekoncierge.com will be publishing a full list of Halloween and fall happenings soon, so check it out. Kiddie Koncierge

Try the Smith Family Farm in Brentwood (or Antioch?) They have animals to visit, and the chance to go out into the field and get to your pumpkin while still attached to the vine. Look them up online, my kinds LOVED this place when they were small and it is about a 45 minute ride. anon

Sept 2009

Re: Halloween Events & Activities I would try to avoid Halfmoon Bay at any costs - too crowded - lenghty drive with lots of traffic. Try this one instead:

Pumpkin Patch Festival Returns to the Western Railway Museum http://www.wrm.org/events/upcoming_events.htm - first a train ride, then a pumpkin patch with great entertainment, then back with the train. Bring a picnic! Get their early when it opens.

This might not be on the right weekend but still worth checking out: October 10 and 11: Harvest Festival, Ardenwood Historic Farm http://www.ebparks.org/activities/events

Or check out Brentwood: http://www.pumpkinpatchesandmore.org/CApsanfran.php

Or Clayton: www.cvpumpkinfarm.com

have fun! Stefanie

Pumpkin Patch Suggestions?

Oct 2008

Any suggestions on pumpkin patches that your family loved this year? What did you especially enjoy about it? Our favorite patch has closed and we need some better options for next year. Thanks. jolie

Smith Family Farms in Brentwood. I just went with my son on a field trip. The teacher warned us that it was far away (we are in Richmond)but quite worth it. And that it was. There was a barn show, animals and a tractor pulled everyone in a wagon out to the corn fields where the pumpkins were. Very Pleased

We just went to a pumpkin patch in Livermore called Joan's (?) and while it was not as great as the place we used to go (Cardoza's), it did have a cute mini replica of an old western town, a small corn maze ($3)and an old wooden fort maze (free). There are a few picnic tables and those who knew better brought picnic lunches and were hanging out for the day. We had to opt for the snack bar which had very limited choices. --still missing Cardoza's

We recommend Peter Pumpkin Patch on Spring Hill Road in Petaluma near Two Rock. It's on the premises of a Spring Hill Cheese Company, and they have a huge selection of pumpkins (pick your own from the fields or from an area near the parking lot), delicious organic pumpkin ice cream, various cheeses, tractor rides, a hay maze, etc. We've gone the last two years and our three year old loves everything about the place! The pumpkins aren't cheap but the atmosphere is wonderful and the fact that they sell hot coffee made it an appealing first-thing-in-the-morning stop for us. It's less crowded in the morning. Erin

We went to the Clayton valley pumpkin farm and my 2 little ones had a blast. They have kids area which they loved especially the hay bale maze. The pumpkins were cheap. It felt very authentic, no jumpy houses. Here's the link: http://www.cvpumpkinfarm.com/ L. Heath

We've always had good luck with the Clayton Valley Pumpkin Farm. It is huge. They have tractor rides, a hay maze, and a play area for kids. My kids have been on field trips there as they do plant/botanical education programs, too. They also have a Christmas tree farm/lot, which we've never been to, but we may try to hit it this year. It is a family-owned and -operated endeavor, and my kids like going to someone's ''farm.'' It's a nice experience for city dwellers. Here is their web site: http://www.cvpumpkinfarm.com

Pumpkin patch birthday party

Sept 2008

I am wondering if anyone has a particularly good recommendation for a pumpkin patch place for an 11 y/o's birthday party? One with a maze or rides, fairly nearby the Alameda/Oakland area would be ideal. I understand Ardenwood in Fremont has no maze this year. Thanks. birthday planner

The pumpkin patch in Livermore on Mines Road is amazing. Beautiful rural surroundings/hills/oaks, big corn row maze, games, food, etc. Feels like you have been transported to a different part of the country. We go every year. And there are a lot of great wineries out there as well -- so if some of the grownups want to slip away and do some tasting, all the better. :) Bent Creek Winery on Greenville is super (award winning reds and port, really friendly/nice tasting room). Have fun! Love hanging in Livermore

Cheap Pumpkins in the East Bay?

Sept 2008

We are having my son's 3rd birthday party in a few weeks, and rather than make everyone drive out to a pumpkin patch, we decided to make our own patch at home. Now, we are faced with buying about 30 pumpkins and I have no idea where to go for the best prices. His party is on the 11th of October, and we plan to head out the weekend before to pick up ALL the pumpkins. Thanks!!! Audrey

Cheapest pumpkins are at Trader Joes. We like to go out to the pumpkin patch for a fun outing and get a few pumpkins, but they are expensive. I can't remember what they cost at Trader Joes but if I remember correctly, they are one-half or one-third the cost of the pumpkin patch. Whitney

The Piedmont Avenue Pumpkin Patch in Oakland has small pumpkins for $1.00 a piece. They are located at 4414 Piedmont Avenue on the corner of Piedmont and Pleasant Valley Avenue. Their phone number is 510-967-9363. Oakland Pumpkin Patch that is a nice place for cheap decorations also like spider webs and candles. Halloween Lover

Just thought I'd mention the fact that they finally built a building on the lot where the pumpkin patch was. I'd try the big Longs Drugs on Pleasant Valley Rd. its called progress

Pumpkin Patch that won't break the bank?

Sept 2007

We would like to take our children on a drive to a Pumpkin Patch again this year. It seems that many we have gone to in the past have really cleaned out our wallets. Are there any patches in Napa or Sonoma where the kids can have fun, we can pick out a nice selection of pumpkins, and it won't cost too much? Jeanne

We always go to the pumpkin patch in Bolinas. It is on the main stretch of road before you enter town. They have pumpkins in all different sizes. You pick one out, compare the size to the display pumpkins (which have prices on them) and toss your money in a lock box. We then head into town for a picnic on the beach. I enjoy this place because it does not have all the commercial Halloween stuff (i.e. jumpers, other junk to buy) but the kids can run around. Keep it real

Well, this isn't the cheapest, but I went to the most amazing hay fort and pumpkin patch last year. It is at the Western Railway museum near Fairfield. You ride an old motor car from the museum to the pumpkin patch. There they also have the biggest hay fort imaginable! This thing has slides, tunnels, ... SO fun! There's a petting zoo and crafts for sale. I think it cost 2 to get in for an adult, so not cheap! But totally worth it. Here's the web link: http://www.wrm.org/events/upcoming_events.htm
hay fort crazy

We like Clayton Valley Pumpkin Farms. You can find them on the web at http://www.cvpumpkinfarm.com . I don't think it costs anything to actually check out the pumpkins. They charge for the train rides and a play area. Again, I don't remember how much, but it didn't seem over the top at the time. I've been there on field trips in the spring, too. It is a cool place.

The Piedmont Avenue Pumpkin patch in Oakland on Piedmont Avenue at Pleasant Valley Avenue is a great place to find pumpkins. They have Halloween decorations in front and a pumpkin patch in the back... It's right next to the Chevron Ken Bett's car wash. They are open 9-9 every day so there's always time to bring the kids there. There's also a cute haunted house there. Enjoy. Jon

The Piedmont Avenue Pumpkin patch in Oakland on Piedmont Avenue at Pleasant Valley Avenue is a great place to find pumpkins. They have Halloween decorations in front and a pumpkin patch in the back... It's right next to the Chevron Ken Bett's car wash. They are open 9-9 every day so there's always time to bring the kids there. There's also a cute haunted house there. Enjoy. Jon

Pumpkin Patch for toddlers?

October 2006

I'd like to find a good pumpkin patch for an October outing with toddlers -- the archives have recommendations for some places, like Cardoza's, that aren't active pumpkin patches anymore and I'm wondering if anyone has recommendations? Something attached to a petting farm, and/or with hay rides etc. would be great.
-- in search of the Great Pumpkin
My partner volunteers a ton at the Western Railway Museum, so I have to put in a plug for their pumpkin patch. The highlight is the train ride out to the patch, which even my older kids (5 and 9 last Halloween) loved. Most of the kids were lots younger. The other major attraction there was an enormous hay structure with lots and lots of places to climb, quite high for the older (5 and up) kids and lower for the younger ones.

Once you get tired of the patch, you can buy your pumpkins and homemade treats, ride the train back and look at the museum. They have a website with more details and directions, but they're basically on the north side of Fairfield, about a 45 minute drive from Berkeley

Check out Clayton Pumpkin Farm, about 30-40 mins away. But worth it. We make the trip every year. My toddler loves it! http://www.cvpumpkinfarm.com/

Have you heard of Apple Hill? It is located outside of Placerville. It is about a 2 hour drive from Oakland/Berkeley, but it is worth the drive. You can probably get more information about it online. Apple Hill is the name of an area which has real farms that grow apples mostly. From October - November they are open every weekend. Some are real working farms and some places are real touristy. O'Halloran Farm has a pumpkin patch where you even cut the pumpkin off the vine. They also have apples! It is a really neat place.
Lisa W

Hi! I know a great one! Clayton Pumpkin Farm in Clayton. It is wonderful! They have animals, pumpkins, a train, corn maze and a lot more... They opened last weekend. Can get crowded so I would go 1st thing or later afternoon. Have fun! Here is their website www.cvpumpkinfarm.com

Ardenwood Historical Farm! First, its not a pumpkin patch (although there is one right outside of the farm...and you can pick your pumpkin after you have a GREAT day of fun at the farm) but it is a GREAT place to celebrate autumn and a GREAT place for babies - adults! It is part of the East Bay Regional Parks district and is located in Fremont on what was an old farm. Although they have activities year round, on October 14th & 15th they are having their annual Harvest Festival. You can pick (free) popcorn and decorative corn right from the field, they have a REAL horse pulled train, old steam tractors that pull wagons, chickens, peacocks etc., craft activities for older children (making clothespin dolls, bean bags etc.), live bluegrass music, and best of all for toddlers (I have twin toddlers that I am taking this year), ACRES TO RUN AROUND ON!! There are also places to picnic although you can buy food there too. The best part is that it is non-commercial, people in historical costumes, and it just gives you that warm, non-cynical, fuzzy autumn feeling. Plan for a whole day!

Someone on BPN just posted a message about this within the past month and it looks great and we are going. here's the post: For the past 2 years we've taken our now 3.5-yr old & 2-yr old to Smith Family Farm in Brentwood. It has just enough activities for the kids to make it a perfect little day trip. There's admission but children under a certain age are free. (Don't remember what that age was.) Activites on the farm include: seeing animals, a barn sing-a-long, an indian village with a native americanm that talks about indian life, a hay bail tunnel & hay bail maze for kids & a fun corn maze for the big ''kids''. The funest part is that visitors take a tractor- pulled wagon ride to the punpkin patch where you get to pick out your own pumpkins. They also have a little general store & veggie stand. You can bring a picnic (& cake). They have tables. Visiting Smith Family Farm will be our family tradition for several more years. Some of the decorations are a little hokie, but the kids LOVE it. Here's a link to an article about the farm:

I highly recommend Smith Family Farm past Antioch off hwy 4- about 50 minutes from Berkeley. Very fun for toddlers as well as older. They have animals (but not petting,)a great 15 minute show in the barn- fiddling and homemade instruments old-time music and at the end all the children are invited to play music on stage together. Also a replica Miwok village to show what was there before farms. And a corn maze, and a hay tunnel. You take a hayride out to the pumpkins and choose one per person. We've gone three times over the past 4 years and always love it.

We really love the Clayton Valley Pumpkin Farm, though it is a bit far from Berkeley - like maybe an hour. It has a train, and there are goats and a Llama, and maybe some other animals. It also has a Kids play area that costs $3 per kid, but is oodles of fun -- the highlight is the bean pot - HUGE kiddie pools filled with beans that the kids can dive right into. There is also a maze made out of haystacks that is lots of fun. My son, now 5, has remembered our annual visit and can't wait to go back...www.cvpumpkinfarm.com

Fun pumpkin farm for a 2-year-old

October 2006

My 2-year-old is crazy about pumpkins right now and his dad and I would like to take him to visit a pumpkin farm on an upcoming weekend between now and Halloween. I checked the website and all of the recommendations are 5+ years old. We'd love a place that offers lots of pumpkins, of course, but also fun activities for a toddler. I was thinking something along the lines of a hay ride or petting zoo. We'd like to go somewhere within about an hours drive from the Berekely area but we'd probably be willing to drive farther for something really exceptional.

Try Perry Farms next to the entrance of Ardenwood Park in Fremont. They have tons of pumpkins in a fields, piles of hay for kids to climb on, hay rides around a real farm, and a corn maze. They are very friendly and it is a great farm experience for little kids.

I recommend Lemos Farm in Half Moon Bay. Great for toddlers! http://www.lemosfarm.com/ Have fun!

Try Clayton Valley Pumpkin Farm in Clayton (www.cvpumpkinfarm.com) or Joan's Farm and Pumpkin Patch (www.joansfarm.com). Both have great activities for kids. anon

On Saturday we took my 2- and 5-year-olds to a pumpkin farm 6 miles south of Half Moon Bay (www.aratapumpkinfarm.com) and loved it. There was a maze made out of straw bales that probably covered 3/4 acre and we spent 20 minutes just running around in there. We also did the hay ride and the pony ride. We tried the petting zoo, but the goats scared my kids (they were too eager to be fed). Then we pulled red wagons into the field and picked up our pumpkins. The activities were not cheap (I think we spent $35 for the four of us to do all of these things over a period of about 1.5 hours), but it was really fun. Whether you to Arata or not, if you plan to go to Half Moon Bay do it this weekend. Don't wait. It gets crazy out there as Halloween approaches. Liz O.

Perry's Organic Produce (http://www.perryfarmsorganic.com) next to Ardenwood Historic Farm (http://www.ebparks.org/parks/arden.htm or http://www.fremont.gov/Recreation/ArdenwoodPark/) in Fremont is probably a good bet. I know they have a pumpkin patch and a corn maze, and I think they have hayrides, too. Plus, Ardenwood Farm has farm animals and a horse-drawn train. Enjoy! Ardenwood fan

The Western Railway Museum in Suisun (off Hwy 12) is a wonderful, magical place to take your kids to in the weeks before Halloween. They provide (historical) train rides and starting on October 14th (weekends only) the ride will take you to a pumpkin patch that feels like you're in the middle of nowhere. There is a hay ride and a couple of animals to pet. There is a huge hay maze with some slides (well, that's what they had the previous years and I assume they have a similar thing this year). It is a bit pricey: $12 for adults and $9 for children 2 and up, but this includes the train ride. Our kids have always loved this place and we make it a point to go there every year! Here's the link with more info: http://www.wrm.org/events/upcoming_events.htm

Pumpkin patch birthday party for 5-year-old?

Sept 2006

I'm racking my brain trying to come up with a creative spot for my almost-5-year-old's October birthday. Has anyone done a pumpkin-patch party? I'm thinking of a bigger patch that's got some extra things to do, maybe Ardenwood? I'd love to hear about your experiences. Thanks! Karen

For the past 2 years we've taken our now 3.5-yr old & 2-yr old to Smith Family Farm in Brentwood. It has just enough activities for the kids to make it a perfect little day trip. There's admission but children under a certain age are free. (Don't remember what that age was.) Activites on the farm include: seeing animals, a barn sing-a-long, an indian village with a native americanm that talks about indian life, a hay bail tunnel & hay bail maze for kids & a fun corn maze for the big ''kids''. The funest part is that visitors take a tractor- pulled wagon ride to the punpkin patch where you get to pick out your own pumpkins. They also have a little general store & veggie stand. You can bring a picnic (& cake). They have tables. Visiting Smith Family Farm will be our family tradition for several more years. Some of the decorations are a little hokie, but the kids LOVE it. Here's a link to an article about the farm: http://kron4.com/Global/story.asp?s=547249

Berkeley area pumpkin patch?

September 2005

We would like to take my daughter's toddler class to a pumpkin patch this year. Is there anything close to Berkeley/Kensington? It doesn't have to be a Pick-your-own place. Just somewhere the kids can see and touch pumpkins and pick one out to take home. The places listed in the archives are too far to take the little ones and be back by naptime. Thanks! shari

When my kids went to preschool at Claremont Day Nursery in Kensington, the school did a sort of ''rent-a-patch'' where some group brought pumpkins and spread them out in empty lot/field across from the school. The kids got to pick through the impromptu ''pumpkin patch'' and the remaining ones were just packed back up and taken away. You could call them and ask how they did it. D. Moran

There is usually a pumpkin patch next to the freeway on the Golden Gate Fields side in Berkeley between University & Gilman.

U-Pick pumpkin patch

October 2004

Does anyone have recommendations for a farm with a u-pick pumpkin patch in or near the East Bay that also has fun Halloween activities for kids? Jennifer

Cardoza's Pumpkin Farm in Petaluma is amazing...great for all ages from the hay bale maze (shorter than corn for the kids) jumpy houses and hayrides to the 50 acres of real pumkin patch! beautiful surrounding in a valley in Petaluma... cut and paste to: http://www.hauntedbay.com/reviews/cardozapumpkin2003.shtml moniz

Clayton Valley Pumpkin Patch - it's a haul from Berkeley, and you aren't actually picking them off the vine, but there are a tremendous number of pumpkins on the patch to choose from, as well as a very lovely children't play area with a bean pot that will keep all ages happy for HOURS. It has a train, and animals, and a maze as well. It costs around $5 for the fun, but the pumpkins are reasonably priced, if I recall correctly. Check them out at http://www.cvpumpkinfarm.com/. For other local pumpkin patches, http://www.thewavemag.com/pagegen.php?pagename=halloween_2002=halloween_pumpkin , but I don't know about them personally. beanpot mamma

I loved Smith Family Farms, my daughter went last year for a class trip (and many parents came too.) You get a hay ride out to the pumpkin patch and back, and after the kids choose their pumpkins they also got to pick some tomatoes or whatever was ready for picking. They have activities in the barn, and ponies and other animals. A very nice family and staff runs it. It was really fun , and ended up being well worth the drive (it's in Knightsen, beyond Antioch I think 50 miles from Berkeley,) There's enough to do besides picking out a pumpkin, plus it was neat to get it from a real patch where they actually grew them. Chris

Recommendations from 1999-2001

October 2001

Does anyone know of any pumpkin patches where you can actually pick (off the vine) your own pumpkins? Lots of recommendations for places on the website, but its not clear if they are prepicked or not. Thanks. Hilary

East Bay Moms has an annual outing to McClelland's Two Rock Pumpkin Farm near Petaluma (this year we'll be there 10/28). It's about an hour from Oakland, but it's a terrific farm where you take a wheelbarrow and pick your own pumpkins right from the vine. Lee

Regarding Pumpkin Patch Picking, consider going to Ardenwood in Fremont. It's a real working ranch and they have a nice big pumpkin patch, plus they also have holiday oriented activities throughout the year, from celtic celebrations to teas. Marianne

October 1999

Last year we went to a great pumpkin patch in Marin but darned if I can remember the name of it. Can anyone help? It started with a C and was off of route 37. There were pony rides, a jumping castle, a fruit stand, hay ride and food to purchase and tons of pumpkins. Help! Thanks...Diana

Just wanted to throw in a recommendation for the pumpkin patch at Ardenwood Farm in Fremont. It's not too flashy but they have a great selection of pumpkins. There is also a corn maze, a hay maze (for those under 4-feet tall), and a tunnel of darkness. We had a great time. You can also visit the farm while you are there, but you have to pay admission. From the East Bay, take 880 to the Dumbarton Bridge exit, then follow the signs to Ardenwood. Randal

The Ardenwood Historic Farm has a nice Pumkin Patch where you can also get a tractor ride to tour parts of the farm. On the farm there are also sheep, goats and bunnies that kids can pet, along with pigs, chickens, horses and other animals typical of a farm. It belongs to the East Bay Regional Park system and takes about $4-5 per person to get in, but the ground is big and very beautiful and it's well worth it. Chris

The pumpkin patch you seek is Cardoza's in Petaluma. In fact, I was there yesterday! It's a great place, with an enormous pumpkin patch (the view of it as you drive down a hill toward it is impressive!), a nice picnic area, and a petting zoo. I was there with my playgroup of children around one year old and they really seemed to enjoy the animals and little gourds that they could get their hands around. The walkers and crawlers also enjoyed moving around the huge pumpkins and squashes that are lying around in the grass - they're great to climb over! Admission is free, and parking is free during the week but $1.00 on weekends. I'd highly recommend the place is you're up for a drive. Plus, the scenery is lovely. Have fun!

To those interested in Cardoza pumpkin patch:

Directions: From Marin take 101 North to 37 East. Take a left at first streetlight onto Lakeville Road, then follow signs for about 5 miles. Its hard to tell from the map whether folks coming from the East Bay should go through Marin or take 80 East to 37 West to Lakeville Rd. Use your judgement! Gretchen

There's a similarly great pumpkin patch in Clayton, out past Walnut Creek and Concord. Has some animals, though not to pet, and a play area with a hay maze (dark).

Ardenwood charges $5-$6 for adults and something for older children. The basic attractions are a wagon ride, a horse-drawn train ride, a period activity you can watch (blacksmith or outdoor cooking), and a house tour. It's a work in progress right now, and there isn't all that much to do or see. They haven't developed exhibits or activities that are going to teach younger kids much about 19th century farming. The phone line has extensive information and schedule, so it's a good idea to use that to time your visit with a special event. Bob

I read about these two pumpkin-Halloween places in the Valley Parents newspaper, but don't have first hand knowledge about them. Elaine

1. Halloween Pumpkin Harvest - Smith Family Farms, Sellers Rd. btw. Sunset & Delta Rd., Brentwood. Open daily Oct. 6-31. Mon-Fri 9-1; Sat-Sun 9-5. Admission $4.50 weekdays and $5.50 weekends. 510-634-4739 or 625-3544. Features horse-drawn or tractor-driven hayride to a pumpkin patch, farm animals, live entertainment, scarecrow display, storytime in the big barn, picnic area.

2. Pumpkin Farm (and Christmas trees) at Clayton Valley - 1060 Pine Lane, 2 mi. east of downtown Clayton on Marsh Creek Rd. Open every day in October, 9 am-8 pm. No phone # listed. Features trackless train, plumpkin playground, tunnel of straw, scarecrow row. Elaine

Vacaville has a really nice one with pumpkin ice cream, live music/comedy, and a scarecrow contest located in a maze of haystacks that was quite creative and enjoyable (may scare younger children however). They have pumpkins everywhere and you can carve them on site. Naomi

There's a nice pumpkin farm just north of the dumbarton bridge on Paseo Padre Rd. I believe it's called Oak Hill farms. My daughter's kindergarten class went there yesterday. They have Hay rides, don't know about animals. The pumpkin farm is at the intersection of Paseo Padre & Patterson Ranch Rd. I remembered this because if you continue down Patterson Ranch Rd, you'll be at Coyote Hills Regional Park. This is a great park for kids & adults. 1/2 mile walk to an Indian Village setup, a very good visitor's center. Paved walks around the hills (great for bikes, (occasional 10-20 foot inclines steeper than comfortable for my 5yo who's just learning to ride her bike ;) and a wooden boardwalk that goes all around a marsh (read duck heaven). Lots of Geese and ducks come in late fall and nest here. I definitly recommend making a day of it. -=-Dave

Ardenwood Farm is part of the East Bay Regional Park system and is a working farm that uses old-fashioned technology. They have hay rides and old farm machinery, crafts and other activities. I know that they are open on the weekends and I believe they have special activities or weekends around Halloween and Christmas. Ardenwood is located in Newark right off the 880 Freeway at the exit for the Dunbarton Bridge. Call the East Bay Regional Parks system for more info. I know that they send out a brochure each year describing the nature walks and craft making opportunities in all the East Bay Parks. I think there may be an entrance fee, but I don't remember it being more than a few dollars and probably only applies to adults and teens. Debby

I thought I'd share the information I have about the Hoes Down, the annual harvest festival that takes place at Full Belly Farm. This is a fun event, with tons of stuff going on for kids as well as adults: swimming in the creek, grinding grain, farm tours, natural dying, various workshops (gardening, etc), music, dancing, food, hay bale fort, and more! I'd personally describe it as like an old fashioned county fair with an alternative agriculture twist - with something of a folk festival/outdoor market feel.

Once you get in all the activities are free, but you might want pocket money for the food booths, crafts, and farmers market area.

Here's the basic info: October 4th 11 am - 11 pm location: Full Belly Farm, in Guinda on Hwy 16. Take 80 to 505 and get off at 16 (Esparto) and head north... you'll see signs along 16 for the Hoes Down.
Cost: adults $8, kids ages 2 and up $3
For more info: 916-796-3464 (or you can email me) This is a benefit for the Committee for Sustainable Agriculture

Additional stuff: Camping is available Saturday night - $10 per car There is a bus tour of local organic farms on Sunday from 10-3 which costs extra and required pre-registration at the phone number above.

Come join the fun!