In Search of the Great Pumpkin

Pumpkin Patch at Southlands Heritage Farm Photo: Rob Weiss

Like crimson coloured leaves, pumpkin spice lattes and rainy days, the quest to find the perfect pumpkin is a treasured fall ritual. Dipping temperatures and shorter days can only mean one thing. Halloween is just around the corner. Consequently, it is time for the annual trek to the local pumpkin patch. This year I decided to don my gumboots and head to Southlands Heritage Farm.

Apple Orchard Photo: Rob Weiss

Naturally, I was excited to carve out some fun! I had a vivid image in mind of the pumpkin I was seeking. After all, I had concrete and elaborate plans for my Jack O Lantern. With thoughts of grandeur, I arrived at the community farm, and with unbridled anticipation, I pushed open the gate and entered the apple orchard. Bright orange pumpkins of all shapes and sizes lined the winding path through the trees. Giddy with excitement, like a little kid, I carefully inspected each and every pumpkin. Finally, I spotted it! There adjacent to the chicken coop it lay. My perfect pumpkin. Granted, it wasn’t an ideal shape or even a vibrant colour. The stem was a little off, almost quirky looking. However, something about this misshapen specimen spoke to me, and so I gentled scooped it up and declared it my Great Pumpkin of 2017!

Pumpkin Patch Photo: Rob Weiss

Extremely satisfied with the outcome of my quest, I decided to spend a little more time exploring the farm, because Southlands is so much more than a pumpkin patch. This sensational working, educational farm is located in South Vancouver in a unique area affectionately known as the “flats.” Semi-agricultural zoning permits residents to keep livestock within Vancouver city limits. Consequently, horses are the core of the community and it is a common sight to observe riders trotting up the middle of the roadway. The community farm itself strives to grow, educate and protect while advocating and supporting local farmers and food producers. Goats, sheep, chickens, and horses are there to be enjoyed. Of course, don’t be surprised if someone hands you a pitchfork. Visitors are welcomed and encouraged to experience farm living by pitching in with the chores.

Chickens at Southlands Heritage Farm Photo: Rob Weiss

Getting There:

Located on the Balaclava bike route, only two blocks from the 49 bus stop at 6767 Balaclava Street, Southlands Heritage Farm is a local gem. Visit the pumpkin patch or enjoy a day at the farm without leaving the city.

The Great Pumpkin Photo: Rob Weiss

Of course, Southlands isn’t the only patch in town. Expand your quest for the perfect pumpkin and visit the following farms:

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