Pumpkins o' plenty
As sure as rain comes to Oregon in the fall, you can also count on pumpkin patches for the picking.
The Outlook toured a few local farms and talked with eager patch-goers about their seasonal plans. Rain or shine, pumpkin picking is a time-honored fall tradition in the Gresham area.
"I think (fall is) hands down everybody's favorite time of year," noted Lara Bushue at Bushue's Family Farm in Boring.
Most of Bushue's family's fall traditions include hosting their own pumpkin patch, complete with hayrides, autumnal treats, pumpkin bowling and play areas for children.
The farm has been in the Bushue family for three generations, but only launched its pumpkin patch 17 years ago when Bushue was a child.
"(Over the years) we've steadily continued getting bigger," Bushue said. "We really pride ourselves on still being a fully operational farm. We want people to be able to come out here and experience the farm."
Wendy and Randy Feigner have made Bushue's a seasonal destination. They've been visiting the pumpkin patch for the past two years of their 3-year-old son Robert's life.
"The family atmosphere is beyond awesome," Randy Feigner noted.
"It's very family oriented," Wendy Feigner added. "It's hard to get time away from work, so this is how we make sure we get our pumpkins before Halloween."
Picking and carving pumpkins is the Feigner family's favorite fall tradition, and Robert of course thoroughly enjoys going trick-or-treating. He plans to go this year as a hot dog.
Bushue's is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday at 9880 S.E. Revenue Road, Boring. Besides pumpkins, the farm has self-pick flowers and vegetables for sale.
New to the crew
Though Chris and Kirk Welling have operated Dolan Creek Farm at 13490 S.E. Orient Drive in Boring for years, this is the first time the couple has opened their pumpkin patch to the public.
Throughout the year, the Wellings offer a community supported agriculture or CSA program where people can buy a share and pick up fresh produce weekly. They also sell grass-fed beef and Christmas trees.
With their budding new pumpkin patch, the Wellings also offer hayrides and an assortment of vegetables, such as garlic, tomatoes and decorative Indian corn from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturdays and noon to 4 p.m. Sundays.
David and Jennifer Perry from Vancouver were one of the first families to venture out to Dolan Creek on Saturday, Oct. 14, when the farm opened its fall festivities.
The family of four has in years past frequented Busy Farms in Vancouver, but plans to make Dolan Creek a regular stop in their pumpkin patch tradition."I like that it's a small family farm," Jennifer Perry explained. "It's not overly commercialized."
The Perrys have made a tradition of picking pumpkins for as long as their 8-year-old daughter Anna has been alive.
"We (like to) bake — pumpkin pie, apple pie — and go for a nice fall drive," Jennifer Perry said.
Another tradition the Perrys shared is their plan to dress Anna and 5-year-old son Caleb in matching flannels every year for their pumpkin patch visit.
On Saturday, the duo was dressed in orange and blue flannel shirts, but on Halloween, Anna is excited to don ruby slippers and play Dorothy from "The Wizard of Oz" and Caleb plans to be the hero Vancouver deserves, Batman.
Tucked away between Gresham and Boring is Olson Farms at 22255 S.E. Borges Road in Damascus.
The Gable Family of Troutdale has frequented the farm stand for the past five years.
"We drove by it so often," Kelly Gable noted. "We like their little playground area, and our kids love it."
Besides searching for their prime picks at Olson's, Kelly and Nick Gable enjoy participating in the annual costume contest at McMenamins Edgefield in Troutdale and hosting their 3-year-old son Emerson's Halloween-themed birthday party.
This year Emerson plans to dress up as Bruno Mars for Halloween, and his sister, the 18-month-old Aria will go as a black cat.
"When I was growing up, costumes were homemade, ninjas and such," Nick said. "We're just kind of passing the traditions on with the little ones."
"We'll probably hit up a couple more (patches) before the season's over," Kelly added. "They both love fall."
Possibly one of the most well-known farms in the Boring area is Liepold Farms at 14480 S.E. Richey Road. The Liepolds dedicate their summers to providing local families and the Burgerville restaurant franchise with bumper crops of berries. Once September draws to a close, they refocus on every autumn.
"Our life is centralized around the fall festival," said Marcia Liepold of Liepold Farms' fall festival.
Every fall for the past 17 years, the Liepold's have started off the season by choosing a theme and inviting friends and family out to the farm to help paint sets for their 5-acre corn maze.
This year, 11-year-old Brandon picked the theme of "Phineas and Ferb," a popular children's cartoon, for the fall festivities, a theme many other children such as Savannah and Natalie Warren have enjoyed.
The Fall Festival runs every day throughout October and includes hayrides, a corn maze, chances to win a free pumpkin at the apple catapult, and much more.
"We decorate the house, start baking and we come to Liepold's a couple of times," said Jena Warren, a Gresham woman who has visited Liepold's for the past four years with her daughters. "We come every year. I definitely like that family feel. The girls love it."