Fall into the new season at these 10 Sacramento-area pumpkin patches

Photo courtesy of Sacramento RiverTrain
Take Sacramento RiverTrain’s “Pumpkin Train” to Uncle Ray's Pumpkin Patch in West Sacramento, which features hayrides, a corn maze and numerous exotic pumpkin varieties.

As we enter the second week of October, it’s prime time for roaming through the region’s fields of orange in search of the perfect pumpkin. Whether you’re looking for a teeny pumpkin to adorn your work desk, a sweet pumpkin for a tasty pie or a giant pumpkin for a spooky jack-o'-lantern, there’s a local farm nearby with exactly what your heart desires. Here are 10 nearby pumpkin patches where you can load up on and gorge on gourds.

Pumpkin Harvest
Oct. 11 At Capay Organic’s last scheduled tour of the 2014, kids can pick their own carving pumpkin from the patch (grown specifically for this event) and decorate them with paint and googly eyes at a craft station hosted by the Food Literacy Center. Families can also catch a tractor ride along the farm’s grounds—where over 60 types of organic fruits and vegetables are grown—and enjoy a picnic lunch with fresh, seasonal produce from Capay Organic’s farm stand or tacos and tamales from Tacos 911. 11 a.m.-2 p.m. $5 (kids 12 and under free). 23800 State Hwy 16. Capay. 800-796-6009. farmfreshtoyou.com

U-Pick Pumpkins
Oct. 11-31 If mini-pumpkins won’t cut it this year, head to this pumpkin patch in Fair Oaks. U-Pick’s 100-acre Gum Ranch farm boasts giant pumpkins as well as a variety of white, fairytale and classic carving pumpkins. The farm also grows an array of colorful Indian corn, squashes and hay, perfect for decorating your home in fall fashion. Families can make an afternoon of their visits with a picnic, a trip through the farm’s hay bale mazes or some fun on the rope swings hanging off oak trees scattered around the ranch. 9 a.m. to dusk. 5415 Kenneth Ave. Fair Oaks. facebook.com/upickpumpkin

Pumpkin Patch, Draft Horse and Vintage Tractor Show at Steamboat Acres
Oct. 25-26 After six generations of growing some of the region’s most prized pears, Steamboat Acres is opening its Delta farm to the public by hosting a two-day festival focused on educating children on the importance of agriculture, while celebrating the fall harvest. Both kids and adults will get a full tour of the facilities, where farmers will demonstrate classic farming methods with draft horses and vintage tractors. Afterwards, jump on the hayride, where you can check out Steamboat Acres’ first-ever pumpkin fields, pick your favorite pumpkin and cut it directly off the vine. 10 a.m.-6 p.m. $10 per car. 15819 Sutter Island Rd. Courtland. 775-1166. steamboatacres.com

Bobby Dazzler’s Pumpkin Patch
Open daily through Oct. 31 With 80 types of hand-grown pumpkins and squash ranging from bumpy heirlooms to smooth carving pumpkins, there is something for everyone at this 10-acre, family-owned farm off the outskirts of Woodland. New to the patch this year is the Warty Goblin, a small, squatty orange pumpkin speckled with bright green “warts” and a hard shell—perfect for decorating your doorstep. If making your way through the massive selection of pumpkins wears you out, relax on a hay-bale observation area while little ones explore the kid-friendly “Milo Maze.” Mon.-Fri. noon-7 p.m.; Sat. & Sun. 10 a.m.-7 pm. 23300 County Rd 99D. Davis. 530-876-4167. yourpumpkins.com

Bishop’s Pumpkin Farm
Open daily through Nov. 2 Unique to this farm are the Bishop family’s pink pumpkins, which are stout and round with various shades of pink and rose. If pink pumpkins aren’t your thing, then browse the nearly 50 other varieties of pumpkins grown on the 90-acre farm in Wheatland, where visitors this year can also ride a renovated 1950s carousel or dare to rocket down a 250-foot zip line in addition to taking pony rides and hayrides, running through corn mazes and other activities. Be sure to make some time to catch the pig races, where three heaps of piglets will speed along a NASCAR-inspired track. Sun.-Thurs. 9 a.m.-7 p.m.; Fri. and Sat. 9 a.m.-8 p.m. 1415 Pumpkin Ln. Wheatland. 530-633-2568. bishopspumpkinfarm.com

The Pumpkin Farm
Open Tues.-Sun. through Oct. 31 Relax and enjoy an afternoon at this traditional pumpkin patch in Citrus Heights, located on an orchard off historic Old Auburn Road. This year, the farm will have over 100 tons of pumpkins in all shapes, sizes and varieties (including the White Ghost, whose pale exterior lives up to its spooky name). On weekends, kids can hop in one of six go-karts pulled by a tractor for a bumpy race around the farm grounds. Take time as well to stroll around and browse the antique farm equipment located throughout the patch. Tuesday-Sunday 9 a.m.-6 p.m. 7736 Old Auburn Rd. Citrus Heights. 726-1137. pumpkinfarm.net

Cool Patch Pumpkins
Open daily through Nov. 2 After picking through more than 50 varieties of both heirloom and carving pumpkins such as Cannonball, Magic Lantern and Goblin Egg pumpkins, get lost at this Dixon patch’s renowned corn maze, which, at nearly 62 acres, has grown more than 50 percent since Guinness World Records recognized it in 2007 as the planet’s largest temporary corn or crop maze. (Don’t worry if you're directionally challenged: Cool Patch offers maze escorts for visitors seeking guidance.) If that’s too intimidating, children can instead conquer a smaller African grass maze, jump into the corn-bath quicksand pit (a two-foot-deep, swimming pool-sized structure filled with corn kernels) or explore the farm’s teepee village. 9 a.m.-8 p.m. 6585 Milk Farm Rd. Dixon. 530-746-8725. coolpatchpumpkins.com

Uncle Ray’s
Open daily through Oct. 31 This smaller farm in West Sacramento lets visitors hunt for the perfect pumpkin amid 15 acres' worth of white Luminas, blue New Zealands, classic Cinderellas and other unique varieties. As an alternative to driving, families might consider heading to Uncle Ray’s on the Sacramento RiverTrain’s “Pumpkin Train,” which features singing scarecrows and whose ticket price includes a free pumpkin for kids. Mon.-Fri. 10 a.m.-5 p.m.; Sat. & Sun. 10 a.m.-6 p.m. 19376 Old River Rd. West Sacramento. 997-8573. unclerayspumpkinpatch.com

Abel’s Apple Farm and Pumpkin Patch
Open daily through Oct. 31 Nestled amid the farms of Apple Hill, this small pumpkin patch is the perfect place to watch the trees change color, wind down country roads and catch a breath of fresh air. Kiddos there can pick their own carving pumpkin, go on a pony ride or have their pictures taken at one of five farm- and Halloween-themed photo-ops, while grown-ups can grab a slice of Abel’s famous apple pumpkin pie, still made with the farm’s original recipe from 30 years ago. 8 a.m.-6 p.m. 2345 Carson Rd. Placerville. 530-626-0138. abelsappleacres.com

Cardanini’s Pumpkin Patch
Open Fri.-Sun. Pull a wagon over to Cardanini’s pumpkin patch in Placerville and load up on some of their favorite pumpkins, including Jarrahdales in elegant shades of gray, sweet Sugar Pies for baking into a tasty seasonal confection, and the Italian variety Marina di Chioggia, which Cardanini’s endorses for both cooking and decorating. A corn maze and haunted log cabin will ensure little ones will stay entertained throughout the day—and before heading home, be sure to pick up an order of pumpkin ravioli from Cardanini’s general store for dinner. 9 a.m.-5 p.m. 2655 High Hill Rd. Placerville. 530-644-2140. cardaninispumpkinpatch.com

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