Pumpkin Patch Visit

My good friends Kelley & Irving (and their adorable four-month-old daughter Adele) have invited a group of friends to spend the day at Underwood Family Farms in Moorpark, CA. It’s an opportunity for us former East Coasters to enjoy a taste of fall, but the Los Angeles weather refuses to cooperate. I stubbornly wear my lightest scarf in an effort to celebrate the fall season even as temps hit 90 degrees.


Animal exhibits are a big hit with the toddler crowd. Even the adults marvel at this overhead structure that allows goats to cross from one pen to another. It’s actually so warm that the goats chill out in the shade of their own pens, too spent to show off their tight-rope walking skills to us pumpkin patch patrons.


There are gorgeous flowers and lavender bushels on display.


I love this pumpkin house. By late afternoon several of the pumpkins have sold and we pose inside, sticking our heads out (see way below).


Underwood Family Farms even allows guests to pick their own fruits and veggies from the farm. If we had more time (and if the weather cooperated) this would be fun to try. Looks like this is available year-round, so perhaps we’ll return for peas in March or squash in June.


Fall decor is available for purchase in some of the tents.


And now for the best part — the FOOD. There’s a wide selection and my friends rave about fried sweet potato shavings they’ve enjoyed in past years… but sadly, they are not for sale on the day we attend. Favorites among our group are the roasted corn (pre-buttered for extra deliciousness) and snow cones with free refills (perhaps not a fall staple, but necessary for a hot day).


I select a pulled pork sandwich for lunch, try a sample of pumpkin bread, and then skip the snow cones in favor of an orange creamsicle float with free refills. The creamsicle was around $4 and I go back for one refill. It’s literally bottled orange soda with a vanilla Hoodsie cup tossed inside, but it hits the spot on a warm day.


Next up: the tractor parade.



Then we mosey on over to the pumpkin patch.



The owner of this tractor notices me snapping photos and comes over to share details on his pride and joy. This bad boy has air conditioning, GPS, and laser technology for cutting grass and planting seed. It reaches a span of over 50 feet when in operation.




Time for Adele’s first pumpkin photo shoot! She cooperates beautifully despite the harsh midday sun.






I even step in front of the camera for a few photos. That’s that scarf I refuse to shed in the spirit of fall.


Last up on our agenda is the corn maze. I have to confess that despite growing up in New England, this is my first time in a corn maze.


My friends say it took them about 45 minutes to get through last year, but this year we manage in under 20. It helps when you compare notes with other maze participants: “That way’s a dead end.” “This way too.” “Let’s try over there!” This works as long as no one tries to deliberately send you the wrong way!



And we find our way to the pyramid of hay bales in the center! We climb up top for 360 degree views of the whole farm.




On our way out of the farm, we stopped at a patch of sugar pumpkins intended for baking. Since these little guys are smaller than their big brothers in the main patch, I grab one to decorate my studio apartment back home.


And here’s the pumpkin house again — this time with a few missing. I sense a photo op…



Happy fall! What traditions do you partake in to celebrate the season? Hay rides, haunted houses, or costume planning? I’d love to hear about it.

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