Oregon is blessed with wonderful autumns and a robust farming community. Marry that with retail nurseries and you have a slice of heaven (and lots of fresh apple pie!). Kym Pokorny and I headed to Bauman Farms & Garden with our adorable dogs Molly (hers) and Barney (mine) to take a look at the giant pumpkins (that’s Barney in front of one of the “smaller” giants). We also came back with a trunk load of pumpkins and decorative—but also tasty—squash. The biggest giant topped out at 1360 pounds and was the winner of a $10,000 prize (funded by Bauman’s Farm, I came to find out). That’s a hundred pounds lighter than last year’s due to our cooler weather this year. Brian Bauman said, and I’m assuming I heard him correctly, that a single seed of a record breaker can sell for as much as $800!
On a garden writer tour in Oklahoma, we visited a residential garden where the owners had piled a variety of pumpkins and squash at the base of a tree. It was very decorative and something I’ve thought about doing. Unfortunately, I didn’t remember that until I arrived home with not nearly enough gourds to accomplish the task. Next year…
Treat yourself and the kids to a great day on the farm and find the perfect pumpkins for carving and decorating by visiting these retail nurseries. Have fun!
Bauman Farms and Garden (Gervais) – Pumpkin Patch through October 31. Admission fee. Activities include hay rides, zip lines, animal barn, giant slides, mazes, straw castle, apple and apple cider tasting, pedal carts, climbing wall, and more. Don’t forget to stop in at the bakery, farms store and garden center. www.baumanfarms.com
French Prairie Gardens (St. Paul) – Harvest Festival through October 31. Admission fee. Activities include themed weekends for military appreciation, grandparents, high school spirit and cruise-in (classic cars), and pumpkin patch, hay and corn mazes, obstacle course, hay slides and more. They also offer fresh produce and baked goods. www.frenchprairiegardens.com
Smith Berry Barn (Hillsboro) – Apple Festival, October 16 & 17, 12-4pm. Activities include heirloom apple tasting, tasty apple treats, press your own cider, live music, wine tasting, u-pick apples (this weekend only), visiting alpacas and more. www.smithberrybarn.com
Wooden Shoe Bulb Company (Woodburn) – Pumpkin Fest through October 31. Admission fee. Activities include corn and hay mazes, pumpkin cannon, paintball gallery, calf roping, hay rides and slides, wheat grinding, Halloween Hauntings (on select days), and more. www.woodenshoe.com