“I sense a picture-heavy post coming on…..” and Dana was right. Pumpkin patches and marinas are very photogenic places.
Yesterday we took a trip to Richmond Country Farms to visit their Pumpkin Patch. Remember when Dana and I, eager beavers that we were, tried to visit the patch on October 1st? It wasn’t even opened yet, but now it’s in its full-fledged, hay-baled, bright orange glory, and ready for your visit. Here are some good things to know before you go:
1. It’s open during the week from 9am to 1:30pm, and on Sat./Sun./Holidays from 10am – 4:30pm. They happily welcome school groups, but please call ahead to book! (Sukie at 604-274-0522).
2. The cost is $11 for everyone, except children under 3 who are free. You’re given a bag to put your pumpkin(s) in, and the pumpkins are included in the price. If you take a pumpkin for your child under age 3, however, they cost $3. If after your visit you don’t feel like you’ve gathered enough from the field, do not fear! There are plenty more for sale at the farm stand nearby.
3. BRING GUMBOOTS. What do open fields that have been rained on become? Fields of mud, that’s what! And since we saw more than one child bathed head to toe in dirt, it would be a good idea to keep everyone out of their Sunday best for the trip. It’s a slippery world out there in the patch.
4. BRING CHILDREN. This is definitely for them! We might have been the only people there without kids, and practically everything is geared towards little ones. The farm does a great job of it all.
Here’s what you can expect on your pumpkin patch adventure:
On your way in, there are ducks and geese swimming in the apple-filled pond, as well as goats, speckled chickens, and pot-bellied pigs to look (and smile) at.
After purchasing your tickets, you’ll move to a large area where there’s picnic tables, a stage with live music (+ dancing corn cob), and a stand selling hotdogs, smokies, and mini donuts. Judging by the number of pumpkins in bags, it looked as though most people enjoyed this area after they’d visited the patch.
And how do you get there? Your admission includes a ticket for the hay ride, which drives you to and from the fields where you’ll pick your pumpkins.
Each hayride has live music, which is pretty darn wholesome if you ask me.
Once you’ve made it to the fields, you can pick the section you’d like to explore, and spend as little or as much time there seeking out the ideal jack o’ lantern.
It’s nearing the end of the season, so the field isn’t quite as full as it was, but there’s still plenty to choose from.
We each selected a small, sturdy ‘kin, then I asked (/demanded) the girls to pose with them. Such good models! Such good pumpkins!
Once we were happy with our choices, we headed back on the ol’ hay wagon, and selected ourselves a free apple to snack on.
We also decided to take advantage of the mini donuts on offer ($5 for a dozen), and sat at a picnic table while we ate them. After all, it’s exhausting work out there in the fields, and we needed to restore all those lost calories.
Then we went shopping. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: Richmond Country Farms is an incredible place to buy your fruits and vegetables. There are dozens of crates filled with local and Okanagan produce, and at this time of year there are endless varieties of apples, pears, squash, kale, and other late Autumn goods.
We filled an entire shopping cart with fruits and vegetables, including these vibrant, ruby-red carrots we’d never seen before.
There wasn’t a square centimeter of space left in the trunk once we’d put in our bags, which leads me to a good tip – don’t forget your reusables! We didn’t realize we’d be buying so much and had to take away a lot of plastic. Still, you’re looking at a trunk-ful of health right here.
Speaking of health, the mini donuts weren’t quite filling enough, so we headed off to find food. Since we had a car, we decided to go somewhere off the usual grid, and ended up at Tugboat Annie’s, a pub at the Shelter Island Marina in east Richmond.
When I gave Dana the directions, it kind of seemed like we were driving into the middle of Industrial-Building-Nowhere, but at the end of Graybar Road we came across this serene stretch of water.
The marina was lovely at dusk, with swans moving lazily around the docks, and dozens of sunlit boats to admire.
We enjoyed it for a few minutes before heading in for our early dinner.
Tugboat Annie’s has classic pub food, and a number of people were in for their Sunday evening roast. It came with a gravy-laden Yorkshire pudding, meaning they do it up proper-like! There’s a patio with a view of the marina, and while it’s heated in the fall and winter, we decided to sit inside. Still, I can imagine it would be a fantastic place to sit on a summer afternoon.
We split the spinach and artichoke dip to start ($10.50), and then tried the Montreal reuben sandwich ($10.50, upgraded to yam fries for an extra $2), the chicken tenders and fries ($10.50), and 1 piece of cod and chips ($9.99, $12.99 for two pieces).
Since the bartender was serving the entire restaurant, the service was a little slow, but it was an easygoing Sunday so it didn’t matter. The food was good – nothing to get too excited about, but hearty and satisfying after hours of walking around.
The spinach dip was full of cream cheese and artichokes, and exactly what I wanted.
The reuben was salty and savoury; we would have preferred more meat and cheese and a little less kraut, but the yams fries get a full-fledged endorsement! They were crispy and salted, with a sweet chili aioli on the side.
Heather’s chicken tenders and fries were tasty, especially with the creamy honey-mustard sauce….
…and Ariel’s cod and chips were super crunchy, with tangy tartar sauce. She said a few bites of the cod were rather tough, but the batter got 4 orange pumpkins out of 5.
All in all, it was a fun, harvest-filled afternoon, and I’d highly recommend taking your kiddos to the Pumpkin Patch. Also, the farm stand will be open for the next few months, so we’ve decided to get our weekly produce from there.
After all, what are two of the most satisfying things in the world? Getting a huge bag of fruit and veg for $9, and of course, finding the perfect pumpkins. Next up: an evening of carving.
Open 9am – 1:30 Monday – Friday, and 10am – 4:30pm Saturdays, Sundays, and Holidays
Admission: $11, children under 3 years old free
Cash and cards accepted
Vegetarian options available