The first wild geese of fall have arrived. I was in my backyard last night when I heard the familiar chorus of honking overhead. I paused, turning my gaze skyward, and squinted in the fading light. There they were–flying in their unmistakable “V” formation–heralding the official start of autumn.
Ready or not, the countdown to Halloween has begun.
I love the change of seasons, and celebrate the transition by decorating our home with leaf garlands, dried corn stalks, acorns, and of course pumpkins.
Each October my family pays a visit to Spring Hill Farm’s Great Peter Pumpkin Patch which lies just west of Petaluma, California near the little town of Two Rock.
Spring Hill Farm is home to Petaluma Creamery which has been an integral part of the Sonoma County farming tradition since 1913. The three-hundred acre certified organic dairy produces some of the finest homestead Jersey milk cheeses you have ever tasted. It is also home to one of the best “pick your own” pumpkin patches in the North Bay. The farm grows a variety of organic heirloom & classic pumpkins, squash, and gourds you can pluck straight from the vine.
We discovered this local gem when our kids were little and our annual outing to Spring Hill has become a favorite tradition. No one, it seems, is ever too old for the pumpkin patch.
Getting to Peter’s Pumpkin Patch is an easy drive through scenic Sonoma County farmland. Admission and parking are free! You won’t find a jumpy house on the property, but you will find an authentic farm experience where you and your kids can wander in a sprawling field of pumpkins to your heart’s content.
After you’ve picked your pumpkins and loaded them into one of the supplied wheelbarrows, be sure to mosey up to the big tent to pay for your haul and taste some of Spring Hill’s award-winning organic cheese.
Don’t forget to treat yourself to a cup of their old-fashioned homemade ice-cream straight from the dairy ($2.00). The rich, creamy Pumpkin Ice Cream made with fresh organic Jersey milk is our favorite pick.
Now that the heavy lifting is done, leave your pumpkins at the car and explore the other activities. You can milk a dairy cow, pet baby animals, run through the hay maze, or take a ride on a tractor-pulled wagon around the property–all for free! If you like, bring a picnic lunch and make a day of it. There’s even live music on the weekends! They won’t nickel and dime you to death at Spring Hill Farm, which I find refreshing compared to other venues we’ve tried through the years. That’s why we keep coming back. Personally, I think it’s a great value.
Peter’s Pumpkin Patch at Spring Hill Farm is open seven days a week through October 31st, from 9:00AM until dusk. Wear layers of comfortable, casual clothing and shoes or rubber boots that don’t mind some dirt (or mud if it rains). You can also schedule an educational tour for your group or school by calling (707) 775-1183 to make a reservation.
The farm is located at 4235 Spring Hill Road, eight miles west of Petaluma (look for the Peter’s Pumpkin Patch signs). Take the Washington Avenue exit off HWY 101 in Petaluma. Go west through Petaluma. The road becomes Bodega HWY. Continue eight miles to Spring Hill Road turning left at the Two Rock Church. The entrance to the farm is approximately 1 mile up Spring Hill Road on the right.