Did you know that the tradition of carving jack o’ lanterns started in Ireland by carving turnips, beets and potatoes? It wasn’t until the activity began in North America by settlers that the larger and easier to carve pumpkins came into use. October means Halloween and Halloween means pumpkin patches full of pumpkins. Here’s a guide to the best pumpkin patches in Los Angeles, Orange County and the Inland Empire.
Foursquare Favorite: Santa Monica Farmers Market
(between 2nd St. & 4th St.)
Santa Monica, CA 90401
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One of the largest farmers markets in a state that’s known for Great Places for Fresh Food, the Santa Monica Farmers Market is a must see — and that’s especially true on Wednesdays leading up to Halloween, when pumpkins are added to the bounty along the 3rd Street Promenade. According to Foursquare users, go early in the morning to spot local chefs picking out ingredients, and don’t forget a shopping cart or reusable bags.
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Lombardi Ranch Pumpkin Fall Festival
29527 Bouquet Canyon Road.
Saugus, CA 91390
Dates: Sept. 28, 2014 to Oct. 31, 2014The Lombardi Ranch has been selling pumpkins since 1968 and the Pumpkin Festival began in 1989. Each year more than 8,000 school children visit the ranch for a pumpkin tour. Every weekend in the month of October families flock to the ranch for fun, family-oriented activities such as petting zoo, wagon rides and live music (additional fees may apply). Don’t forget to check out the scarecrow contest entries while you’re there. Visit their website for a calendar of the ranches current amazing weekend events.
Cal Poly Pomona Pumpkin Festival
4102 S. University Drive
Pomona, CA 91768
Dates: Oct 18th & 19th, 2014Join Cal Poly Pomona for their 22nd Annual Pumpkin Festival on Oct. 18 and 19th, 2014 where you can choose from thousands of pumpkins right in the patch. Face painting, corn maze, petting zoo, horse rides and lots more activities for kids are also available (additional fees may apply). Head on over to the Insect Fair after picking this years pumpkin and see over 500,000 live and preserved insects.
Underwood Family Farms Fall Harvest Festival
3370 Sunset Valley Road
Moorpark, CA 93021
Dates: Sept. 27th – Oct. 31, 2014From September 27th to the end of October, come down for the 17th annual Fall Harvest Festival at the Underwood Family Farms. Weekend admission includes tractor-drawn wagon rides, the corn maze, live entertainment, pumpkin patch (pumpkins not included), hay pyramids, animal exhibits & educational information, kid’s corral, pedal tractors and much more! Festival hours are from 9am to 6pm.
5380 University Drive
Irvine, CA 92612
Dates: Open Daily Until Oct. 31st, 2014Located in Irvine, Tanaka Farms lets you pick your very own pumpkin right off the vine. Aside from the U-Pick pumpkins, take a wagon ride tour around the 30 acre farm where you get to taste vegetables, get lost in the corn maze, enjoy the petting zoo and take lots of pictures! Pumpkins are sold per pound and the wagon ride tour is $5 per person, children under 2 years old are free. Group rates are available for 10 or more people (call for reservations). Open daily from 9am to 6pm.
Irvine Railroad Pumpkin Patch
1 Irvine Park Road
Orange, CA 92869
Sept. 20th to Oct 31st, 2014Open 7 days a week at 10am, the Irvine Park Railroad Pumpkin Patch is located behind the train station and has the best quality selection of pumpkins available. With a free cost to enter the pumpkin patch, you’ll be able to check out all the pumpkins your heart desires. There are also train rides, hay rides, bounce houses, carnival games, hay maze, haunted house, tractor races, picture stands and so much more (some additional fees may apply). Visit their website for money saving coupons and a kid’s printable coloring page.
39925 Calle Contento
Temecula, CA 92591
Dates: Sept. 28th, 2014 to Oct. 31st, 2014Located in the Temecula wine country, Peltzer Farms is a Halloween entertainment destination with pony rides, old fashioned train rides, pig races, petting zoo, a corn maze and much more. Additionally, there are many types and varieties of squash and gourds there are even some pumpkins more than 100 pounds available. The Pumpkin Farm is open from 9am to 8pm.
12261 South Oak Glen Road
Oak Glen, California 92399
www.rileysfarm.comGo back in time at Riley’s Farms to experience 19th century colonial life. Stretching across 760 acres of beautiful Oak Glen land, Riley’s Farm will give you a chance to go back in time to experience 19th century colonial life while also enjoying the yearround picking. In October, pumpkins are the name of the game though. So, whatever type of pumpkin you’re looking for, they have it. Pumpkins are sold per pound and there is a limit of five per family. Offering a giant assortment of all types of pumpkins from white, green, orange, big and small, you’ll have a blast looking at them all. Riley’s Farms is a gorgeous place to spend the day as a family. Don’t forget to stop by the bakery for the world’s best apple pie.
Desiree Eaglin looks forward to carving pumpkins with her kids every year.