Sights & Activities

The Hunt: Best Pumpkin Patches

October 24, 2013

GLOBAL – Every week, the Purple Passport team goes in search of a designated item in whatever city our team members happen to be. This week, we’re getting ready for Halloween (and can’t wait for the pie, seeds, and treats that will surely come later) by paying visits to our favorite pumpkin patches. So whether it’s the classic gourd we’re searching for, or those adorable photos with the kids, no fall season is complete without a trip to our local pumpkin farm. And we’d love to hear from you too. Let us know about your favorite pumpkin patch in the comments!

Ganyard Hill Farms
Durham, North Carolina

The Skinny: I live in a city that is slowly squeezing out the countryside as it urbanizes quickly. Thankfully, Ganyard Hill Farms stands strong (although you can see a new development at the edge of the corn maze. With its corn bed and corn maze, along with cotton fields and hay ride (along with the photo-opp tractor which my son adored), the pumpkin picking is just one more attraction at the farm. It provides the quintessential pumpkin picking experience, and my kids aren’t the only ones super excited for this annual outing!

– Emily

Photo courtesy of Jim on Flickr Creative Commons

Goebbert’s Farm & Garden Center
South Barrington, Illinois

The Skinny: Located just a short ride away from Chicago, Goebbert’s Farm & Garden Center is a complete escape from the regular bustle of the downtown life. It is the quintessential pumpkin farm: visitors can come pick pumpkins, apples, and sweet corn, or to enjoy the daily wagon rides. The concession stand and shop sell steamy cups of cider that are sure to keep everybody warm. October is essentially winter in Chicago, after all. But the real draw of Goebbert’s, and the reason I have been going here for years, is the exotic petting zoo. So leave mom and dad at the pumpkin patch and go get up close and feed the giraffes, kangaroos, lions and zebras. And then stick around for the pig races every weekday. Kermit the HOG is scheduled to be making appearances.

– Suzee

Photo courtesy of Kam Abbott on Flickr Creative Commons

La Ferme Quinn
Montreal, Quebec

The Skinny: To be completely honest, I’ve never actually gone pumpkin picking or visited a pumpkin patch. However, during college, I would always take a trip to Montreal for “Fall Break.” It turns out that a few farms in the city’s surrounding areas cater to fun fall activities like apple and pumpkin gathering. This little barn, located 20 minutes from Montreal, is open to the public from Thursday to Sunday where, for $5, guests can enjoy the crisp air and return home with some harvested autumn goods!


Photo courtesy of Paul Cross on Flickr Creative Commons

Tanaka Farms
Irvine, California

The Skinny: Orange County, where I grew up, used to be a farm-rich patch of land just an hour away from Los Angeles’s urban sprawl (lots of orange groves, hence the name Orange County). Today, of course, there are more condos than corn rows, but Irvine’s Tanaka Farms is an exception. It’s a 30 acre farm where you can pick your own seasonal goodies (from strawberries to veggies), and in October there’s an awesome pumpkin patch. In addition to pick-your-own pumpkins, there are wagon rides, a petting zoo, and a corn maze. Sure puts a different kind of orange into Orange County!

– Rachel L.

Photo Courtesy of Jim & Rachel McArthur on Flickr Creative Commons

Wightman’s Farms
Morristown, New Jersey

The Skinny: New Jersey may be the butt of many a joke of late, but the Garden State is called that for a reason. In fall, the peaches of August and apples of September yield to gourds at Wightman’s Farm positively bursting, Cinderella’s carriage-style, in size. The pumpkins are the only draw greater than the attendant corn maze and country store; taking in the view from the circum-farm hayride or wandering the plots to examine each tough-skinned fruit for the perfect pick, this premier patch will leave you humming, “bibbidi-bobbidi-boo.”

– Hannah

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