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Friday, October 3, 2014

Desperately Seeking Pumpkin: Where to Get Your Gourd On

Posted By on Fri, Oct 3, 2014 at 12:57 PM

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The cravings for pseudo-seasonal "pumpkin spice" products are all the rage now that October is here, but even if you don't have PSL fever you can still get in on the action.

Two Bay Area locations have major pumpkin power going on and even the most petite of apartments can get spiffy with the addition of gourds, pumpkins and those colorful and kind of funny dried ears of corn. Visiting a pumpkin patch is also a chance to fearlessly sport that comfy flannel shirt and fantasize about being a farmer (meaning: comfy pants plus sturdy shoes are a must; the urge to lift and move produce definitely takes over. Get up and start working in the middle of the night for the full experience). Placing hay behind your ears or in your flannel shirt pockets is enthusiastic if supremely dorky. Guilty as charged.

Half Moon Bay Art and Pumpkin Festival 
When: Oct 18-19, 9 a.m.-5 p.m.
Where: Half Moon Bay (Main St.)
Rundown: Pumpkins, art, beer, muffins, sausage are among the goods on offer for the mother of all pumpkin festivals. Fried goods and music will please those who don't enjoy pumpkin. Catch the pumpkin carving-displays from Farmer Mike to see why he's known as “The Picasso of Pumpkin Carvers.” The giant pumpkins are visually interesting and kind of inspirational if you've ever had to try carving fruit displays in cooking school and realized how much time and effort it takes to make things look great.
Hot tip: Bring cash. Things get crowded early & thousands make the trek to get their pumpkin on. Traffic in and out is crazy whether you take Highways 1 or 92 home. Either hit the festival early (arrive by 8:30 a.m.) or chill a bit and stay in the area for a meal – Sam's Chowder House (lobster roll time!) or the Half Moon Bay Brewing Company down the road are both good for groups.

Uesugi Farms Pumpkin Park

When: Open daily through October starting at 9 a.m., full schedule here 
Where: Uesugi Farms (14485 Monterey Rd., San Martin)
Rundown: A contender for the biggest pumpkin may be spotted at this pumpkin park – look for a pumpkin weigh-off on Saturday, Oct. 11. Last year, a world champ named Tim Mathison garnered a $30,000 prize for his pumpkin that weighed a gourd-eous 2,032 pounds. Wow, right?!
Hot tip: There's a pumpkin patch on 43 acres of land with a ton of attractions (corn maze, pumpkin blasters, train rides, butterfly valley, and the chance to have your picture taken on a throne of pumpkins called the pumpkin pyramid). Hungry types can hook up pumpkin products: pie, jams, honey, seeds, and cakes, etc. The family who owns it also is known for their pepper farm, but the pepper patches are a separate entity at a different location. 
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Mary Ladd

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