TIME TO PICK THE PUMPKIN

By Jessica Cejnar, The Triplicate October 22, 2012 06:01 pm

Del Norte Triplicate / Bryant Anderson Aiden Kendrick, 3, makes his selection Thursday at a Fort Dick pumpkin patch that is open to the public this weekend.
Del Norte Triplicate / Bryant Anderson Aiden Kendrick, 3, makes his selection Thursday at a Fort Dick pumpkin patch that is open to the public this weekend.
The afternoon was sunny but balmy when Tiffany Ryan and her son Christopher paid a visit to Brock Land and Cattle to choose a pumpkin Thursday. Ryan and Christopher gingerly picked their way among green vines before picking up a particularly large specimen.

“We make jack-o-lanterns out of them,” Ryan said, adding that her family isn’t done with their pumpkin once the trick-or-treaters have gone home. “The next day we stick them in the oven.”

Visitors to Diane Brock’s pumpkin patch in Fort Dick can choose among the ubiquitous orange orbs or take home something more colorful. Some of Brock’s pumpkins are white, some are yellow with green stripes and some are riddled with warts. There are pumpkins that make perfect jack-o-lanterns and pumpkins that make perfect pies.

This year there is an abundance of green pumpkins, Brock said. She blames this on the weather, adding that on some days during the growing season the fog didn’t burn off until 1 p.m. But that’s OK, she said.

“Kids like green pumpkins,” Brock said, adding that they often draw inspiration from Darth Vader or the game Angry Birds. “Any left-over pumpkins are cattle food for winter usually. Cows love pumpkins.”

This is the fifth year Brock and her family have been running the pumpkin patch. People come to pick out pumpkins from as far north as Coos Bay and as far south as Orick, she said. Brock said she and her husband started out with a patch that was roughly a quarter of an acre. Now the pumpkin patch is three to four acres, she said. 

Brock said the pumpkin patch has hosted two school groups a day during the week so far this month, gives hayrides on the weekends and sells refreshments. 

“This year we just doubled the size of the pumpkin patch,” she said. “We never know how many pumpkins to plant because we never know how many people are going to come.”

And every year the pumpkin patch grows.

“My husband and daughter and I do all the work, but next year we’ll probably have to hire more people,” Brock said. “We’d like to do a corn maze and a hay maze next year and expand the pumpkin patch a little more.”

The pumpkin patch is open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and is located at 1690 Morehead Road. For more information, call 707-464-4286.

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