Vancouver’s Best Pumpkin Patch? You Make the Call!

untitled-7For the next two weeks or so, you’re going to be seeing a lot of pumpkins for sale.

They’re in every grocery store, usually not far from the check-out counter so you can make an impulse buy on the way out.  They come in all shapes and sizes – from 20-pound monsters to petite little gourds meant for centrepieces.

But true Halloween fans know there’s only one real way to pick out a pumpkin: by wandering through an honest-to-goodness pumpkin patch.

Now, you’re unlikely to find many pumpkin patches in downtown Vancouver.  In fact, you have to expand your search radius quite a bit before you get to pumpkin country. Head east to Pitt Meadows, Abbotsford, Chilliwack, even Surrey – These are all prime pumpkin towns, with plenty of farmland and open spaces.  To the south, Richmond, Delta and Ladner aren’t slouches either in the pumpkin department.  (This handy list of corn mazes is a good indication of where the pumpkin hotspots are.)

In fact, when you get down to it, the Lower Mainland offers a veritable cornucopia of pumpkin patch options, which is why I need your help: Do you have a favourite pumpkin patch in or around Vancouver? If so, let us know by leaving a comment below. 

I’ll get things started with my personal favourite, the Westham Island Herb Farm, in Delta. untitled-3I checked out the farm over a recent sunny weekend.  It’s roughly a 45-minute drive south of downtown Vancouver, which makes it one of the closest pumpkin patches to the city. The farm is situated on Westham Island, which is accessed via a rickety old wooden bridge, just outside of the suburb of Ladner.

Once you cross the bridge, you enter a different world – of flat farm fields, old barns and occasional glimpses of the Fraser River.  One road runs the length of the island, winding past multiple farms where you can pick pumpkins this time of year.  The first you encounter – and probably the biggest – is the Westham Island Herb Farm.

On a Saturday afternoon, it was bustling.  Out front, a general store sells veggies and herbs.  Piles and piles of already picked pumpkins are graded by size and price.  There’s a mini haunted house and even a petting zoo with a couple donkeys, a big, hairy Scottish Highland cow and some goats.  But the main attraction is the pumpkin patch.

I followed a line of people pushing wheelbarrows (rural shopping carts) into the field.  A sign at the entrance spelled out the terms. The going rate for pumpkins was $.35 per pound.  Big spenders, however, had another option: For $60, you could get all the pumpkins you could fit in a wheelbarrow, plus a number of key Halloween accessories (bale of hay, corn stalks, etc.).

untitled-2Out in the field, there was no shortage of pumpkins to choose from.  The patch stretched for an acre or more, crowded with bright orange squash in all shapes and sizes.  I wound my way through the maze of vines, looking for the perfect find.  While the edges of the field had been picked a bit thin, I hit the jackpot out in the middle.  There were 20- and 30-pound giants just waiting to be carved up.  There were exotic white and green pumpkins and even a few Japanese pumpkins.  And, the best part, they were all still on the vine – still growing under the warm October sun.

In the end, I settled on a perfectly round mini pumpkin, which weighed all of two pounds and cost me a dollar – not a bad price to pay for an afternoon’s idle in the pumpkin patch.

Do you have a favourite Metro Vancouver pumpkin patch? Let us know below? 

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