Coming from the Bay Area, mid-October weekends used to be a flurry of going to several pumpkin patches (usually held in large parking lots) with my kids so we could take pictures, pick up a few pumpkins and let the kids play in the jumpy houses, take a train ride around the patch and just have fun celebrating Halloween.
Being here in Hawaii, Halloween is not the same. Not exactly good or bad, just different. Do I miss decorating the house and having the kids cut up the pumpkins, which would last for two weeks, out on our front porch? Yes. Can’t do that here. The humidity and heat make cutting up the pumpkins more than a few days before Halloween an exercise in rot and decay for your children’s scientific amusement. Also, since we live in a condo at a vacation resort, we don’t decorate the house and there are no neighbors to play the neighborhood game, “Boo!” with or compete for who has the best front yard display.
Instead, we have created an annual tradition of going up to the Kohala Mountain Farm Pumpkin Patch with our friends and their families to enjoy the patch and have a picnic lunch. The pumpkin patch is part of a large organic farm that offers so much more than wandering around in a parking lot looking at pumpkins. As the farm has expanded during the past three years since its inception, it has gained acreage and fun things to do for the kids. And it’s NOT about the jumpy house, pony rides and such. It’s about going out into the patch and actually seeing the pumpkins still attached to their “umbilical cords”.
The kids can see the plants in various stages of maturity and development, which they did not get when the pumpkins were laid out in a parking lot. The farm recently created a sunflower garden with “cover plants” to enrich the soil for future farming. A volunteer outside the sunflower patch was taking a dollar for each flower cut from its stalk as she spoke eloquently about the concept of cover plants and how they helped the entire farming process. As I continue to deepen my personal education about where my food comes from and how its actually produced, I really enjoyed it. My daughter loved cutting her own flowers and it was a fun place to photograph. (I have to interject here, that Santa Clara County used to be a farming community and the fact that you can’t see pumpkins in a field without going 30 minutes south of San Jose is kind of sad.)
The Farm sports a new “farm wagon tour” , a ducky water race and a BBQ area where they serve up hot lunch. We enjoyed the bee display with live honey bees making wax and honey. We also enjoyed the corn maze–for $9. Ain’t cheap, but I knew the money was going to keep the farm going, as they just hired a full time farm manager to expand the farms offerings and educational outreach for the community. Kids had fun, I got to stumble around with a map with my friend and hubby searching for a way out, and after we emerged, we heard the sounds of kids whooping it up in there looking for a way out. Classic, old fashioned fun without a computer. I was blessed to have found this “green” gem in Hawaii!
I put my four favorite facets of this pumpkin patch and farm on my 365 Things to Do In Kona blog on Facebook, too, with more photos.
This Saturday, they are taking the fun to the next level for the first time. They are having a Haunted Corn Maze where you get to wander around the maze at night with flashlights..I have a feeling people will be jumping out..whooooooo! Happy Halloween, folks!