The month of October is associated with Halloween and pumpkins. And a popular outing for most Vancouverites during this time of year, is visiting a pumpkin patch to pick their own. Not only do you get the thrill of the harvest, but you also get a great photo op in the process.
There are so many farms to choose from, but this year we traveled to Richmond’s “Country Farms” as a recommendation from a friend. But sadly, we made the mistake of coming out on a weekday: meaning extra lines, additional crowds, and an increased fee. $13 admission as a posed to $10 during weekdays.
The property was expansive with an attendant directing cars into either lots. You park then take a trek to the actual farm. Along the way there are plenty of farm life to look, at but not touch or feed. Chickens and roosters roaming free, and turkeys, fancy feathered ducks, and billy goats penned up in a shared space. There were also cows, horses, and donkeys behind wooden fences to appreciate.
The farm grows fruits and vegetables, specializing in corn and pumpkins, which they sell at their neighbouring market. As the property is an active space with farm machinery and equipment in regular operation, you aren’t able to roam the land freely for safety reasons. You are asked to stay in designated areas, follow signs, and have their staff in costumes guide you. A few were dressed like Disney characters, others festive in smocks dawning the colours of fall’s changing leaves.
The main area includes a stage with live band and dancing vegetable mascots. This and the tent of hay bales made popular attraction for the smaller kids to run about at. The mini doughnut stand and grilled cheese truck offered lunch and light snacks for families staying the day. And the gazebo with picnic tables, offered a place for them to eat and rest at.
We did none of the above, but did ride the miniature train for $4 per person. You board the open cars and pick any available seat. Designed for children, but enjoyable as an adult just the same. It gave us a sit down tour of the property, which overlapped with the wagon ride we would later take. In hindsight, considering this, the $4 fee seemed a little steep. Not to mention, this was a shorter track, so it was a quicker ride round the property. The attraction was hosted by a conductor. He pointed out the Halloween decorations to the train’s left and right, engaged the crowd in questions, and lead everyone in sing-a-long. Once again, this was not unlike the wagon ride we had to take below. There was a skeleton mariachi band, a haunted house with springing ghoul, and a giant orange mammoth lurking behind the tall grass. Overall the ride was cute, but you really didn’t get to enjoy most of the farm’s field or wildlife at all; especially given the distance of the track to the pens of the latter.
As I eluded to above, in order to reach the pumpkin patch, you have to board one of their wooden wagons, naturally the ride is included in your admission. A covered ride with wood benches and bales of hay for seats. Each pulled by a big wheel tractor. Our was further led by their farm’s dog dawning his own neon reflective visibility vest.
Like the train before you have a host entertaining you along the way. They too pointed out sights and make general observations, but mostly they lead group sing-a-longs on their instrument of choice. “Old McDonald” on a violin and “She’ll be coming around the mountain” on a guitar.
You dis-embark the wagon and begin your dredge on to the muddy pumpkin patch. We were told the largest of their pumpkins were the furthest out. Luckily we thought far ahead enough to wear boots, to be able to drag ourself through it all, all in search for the ideal gourd. I would eventually go for the perfect round small pumpkin, and my guest one that was medium sized and just as spherical. Although I enjoy the green pumpkins and the ones that were oblong-ed shaped more.
A returning wagon ride got us back to the main property where we struggled to wash up. Our boots were caked with mud and without a tap to clean them with, we were forced to utilized a murky puddle. But thankfully I had tissue paper and wet wipes in my car, otherwise there would have been a mess on the mats. Although my car still ended up smelling like farm and manure for days to follow.
From here we wrapped up our time at the farm, the time it took just to clean up had me less than enthusiastic to continue any further. Though we did swing by the aforementioned market to see all the refresh produce they offered and my guest even got some groceries for dinner there.
This has been a nice afternoon at “Richmond Country Farms”, but definitely one more catered to young children rather than kids of all ages. I would return, but given the other pumpkin patches that I have been to previously, and what more they offered in terms of sights and attractions, this might not be my first choice next year.
RICHMOND COUNTRY FARMS
12900 Steveston Hwy, Richmond BC, V6W 1A3