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Harvest Time

With a crisp chill in the air, autumn is here, and along with it, farms offering fall's bounty
by: Brandy Slagle, Elliott Gibby discards his miniature orange pumpkin to try and lift a giant version. He traveled with his parents from Washougal, Wash., to tumble around in the already picked pumpkin pile at Sauvie Island on Sunday, Oct. 8.

The air is ripe, heavy with fresh smells of moist earth, butter melting over corn, caramel drizzling over juicy apples.

Autumn harvest has arrived, and with it local farms are welcoming people seeking to grab some of the season's treasures for themselves.

Phillip Foster Farm was one of the first places to usher in fall's festivities with its annual cider squeeze Saturday, Sept. 30.

Honey vendors and fiber guilds reclined under white tents at the 18th annual festival, which welcomes fall in Eagle Creek each September.

Joyce Cox, a Foster descendant, said the farm offers people a connection to Oregon history. She is dressed in the clean pioneer-cut dresses, crisp sleeves and billowing skirts. She watches the children from behind her silver-framed glasses and greets people who arrive at her family's farm with boxes overflowing with apples.

Although Phillip Foster Farm is now closed until December, Cox said the fall bash is a fantastic way to greet autumn.

'We mostly offer activities for children. Things like building logs cabins, they can saw wood,' she said. 'It's a piece of living history.'

On the Old McDonald Farm, executive director Stephanie Rickert prepares to open the grounds to welcome another crowd for her non-profit's educational fund-raiser. The Pumpkin Pick features marshmallow roasting, hayrides, goat shearing and, of course, pumpkins.

'It's called agro-tourism, and it is becoming very popular again,' she said. 'People want to go back to the simple things in life. It is a real drive in people's hearts and in their families' to escape the concrete and noise and experience some wholesome, hearty and healthy fun. It is a simplification.'

She said the Pumpkin Pick, now in its sixth consecutive year, continues to draw people who prefer to experience fall harvest rather than settle for the convenience of picking up a would-be jack-o-lantern at the grocery store.

'When people come out here they think that we only do this every fall, but we do it year-round,' she said.

The Pumpkin Pick runs from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, Oct. 14-15 and 21-22. Admission is $1, and funds help pay for educational programs that benefit at-risk, low-income children.

Mountain man Leo Stiles will be present to demonstrate how to use pioneer tools and tell stories of trappers in the 1800s.

'It's a great way to get your pumpkin and support a good cause,' said Rickert.

The party continues throughout the month at farms on Sauvie Island, where children such as Elliott Gibby discover pumpkins under the watchful eyes of his parents, who have traveled from Washington to select their Halloween decorations.

Inside the animal barn, children can get their faces painted before navigating through Portland's original corn maze.

In East County, places such as Liepold Farms are also open through October and offer discounted rates and packages for groups of 20 or more looking to spend an afternoon or a few hours at the farms.

Liepold Farms even features a 'pumpkin-pult,' a catapult that lets people launch miniature pumpkins at a target, said Marsha Liepold, farm owner.

'If they win they can select any pumpkin they want,' she said.

Pumpkin Finder

Pumpkin Pick

Old McDonald's Farm, Inc.

1001 S.E. Evans Road, Corbett

503-695-3316

Offers pumpkins, hayrides and hay maze, animals, corn shucking, marshmallow roasts and storytelling. Admission is $1.

Hours are 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, Oct. 14-15 and 21-22.

Pumpkin Finder

Liepold Farms

14480 S.E. Richey Road, Boring

503-663-5880

Offers pumpkins, hay maze, corn roll-around for children, antique tractor display, animals, puppet stage, children's tea house, pumpkin centerpiece and decoration tent, corn maze, tractor rides and pumpkin pult.

Hours are from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. seven days a week through Oct. 31.

Cereghino Farms Produce Market

18641 N.E. Sandy Blvd., Gresham

503-665-4351

Offers fresh seasonal produce, including pumpkins.

Hours are from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday and from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday through November.

Schedeen Farms

28150 S.E. Highway 212, Boring

503-663-1960

Hours are 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sundays.

Giusto Farms

3518 N.E. 162nd Ave., Portland

503-253-0271

Offers five varieties of winter squash, mini gourds, Indian corn, medium-sized Howden pumpkins.

Hours are from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday through February.

Rossi Farms

3839 N.E. 122nd Ave., Portland

503-253-5571

Offers u-pick pumpkins, hayrides, a hay mountain, Indian corn, gourds, pumpkin pult and mini pumpkins.

Hours are from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturdays and 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sundays through October. The farm re-opens in December.

Trapold Farms (The Barn)

5211 N.E. 148th Ave., Portland

503-253-5103

Offers pumpkins, gourds and fresh, seasonal produce as well as fall decorations.

Hours are from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday through the Thanksgiving holiday.

Rasmussen Farms

3020 Thomsen Road, Hood River

541-386-4622

Offers Pumpkin Funland, which includes a corn maze, gourd central, Halloween hut and fresh produce. Free admission.

Hours are 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Sunday, open until Saturday, Nov. 11.

Sauvie Island

16525 N.W. Gillihan Road, Portland

503-621-3874

Offers Portland's original corn maze, a haunted corn maze, u-pick pumpkin patch, tomatoes and flowers, fresh produce and food vendors during the weekends. Haunted nights admission is $8 general, $6 for children.

Hours are from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday through Thursday, 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday through Oct. 31.

Olson Farms

2255 S.E. Burgess Road, Gresham

503-658-2237

Hours are 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sundays.

Pomeroy Living History Farm

20902 N.E. Lucia Falls Road, Yacolt, Wash.

360-686-3537

Offers pumpkins, scarecrow making and a hay maze.

Hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturdays and 1 to 5 p.m. Sundays through October.

FrightTown

Rose Garden Area, 1 N. Center Court St., Portland

Hours are 7 to 10 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and 7 to 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday. Event is closed Monday, Oct. 16.

Event takes over the Exhibit Hall with triple scares; Baron Von Goolo's Museum of Horrors and Food Court of the Damned, Elshoff Manor: The Asylum, and the mysterious Black Box. Tickets cost $20.

Thompson Farms

24724 S.E. Bohna Park Road, Boring

503-658-4640

Hours are 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday.