Working Farms Transform for Halloween
I love living in Los Angeles. The options for family activities are endless. We could go to the beach or the mountains or a museum or see a play. One thing that is tougher to do is visit an actual working farm.
When we were visiting family on the east coast, we drove past many farms and farm stands. So many, we lost count. Living in the city, we don’t have that luxury. The first time we took our son to a pumpkin patch, I was disappointed to see hay thrown over asphalt in a parking lot as cars sped by on La Cienega Blvd. It doesn’t exactly evoke a “down home” feel.
My son was a few months old, so really, it made no difference to him. I just had this vision of a real pumpkin patch. I’m not sure what I was expecting at a lot in the city, but it was definitely disappointing.
While there are several fun creatively engineered pumpkin patches throughout the city, there are two working farms that are a short drive away for those of us who want an authentic farm feel. We don’t go every year since it is a commitment to drive about an hour away and spend a few hours there to drive an hour back, but when we do, we never regret it.
If you haven’t been to Tanaka Farms, you are missing out! In October, the farm transforms into a pumpkin wonderland. In addition to picking a pumpkin straight from the patch, you can also travel through a corn maze, take a wagon ride around the farm, pick vegetables or visit the petting zoo.
The pumpkin patch is open daily from 9 a.m. – 6 p.m. Admission is $3 per person and many of the activities are an additional fee. A few notes – there is no public drinking water, so be sure to bring your own water bottles. Food options are limited, so either pack a picnic or plan your trip before or after lunch – especially if you have picky eaters.
Tanaka Farms can get really crowded the closer it gets to Halloween, so I recommend visiting earlier in the month, or late in the day.
If you can’t make it during the Halloween season, you should definitely consider a trip to Tanaka Farms at another time. From March through June, they offer Strawberry tours where you can pick strawberries straight from the patch, as well as try a variety of their farm fresh produce straight from the vine. You can also take a Watermelon Tour in July and August.
If you are going to Tanaka Farms, be sure to bring your shopping bags because you’ll want to shop for produce at their produce stand. They also offer a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) with pick up locations throughout Orange County and Los Angeles county. Fresh produce straight from the farm. Win. Win.
5380 ¾ University Dr.
Irvine, CA 92612
The first time we went to Underwood Farms, we went with several families from my son’s preschool and there was so much to do that all of the kids, from 2 – 8 years old had a blast. We have since been back a few times, including a visit for a birthday party, which was a blast!
While Underwood Farms costs quite a bit more than Tanaka Farms, it is a fun way to spend the day. You almost feel like you’re at a Fall Harvest amusement park. The Harvest Festival is open from 9 a.m. – 6 p.m. and pricing is $15 on Sept. 30, Oct. 1, 7, 8 and $20 Oct. 14, 15, 21, 22, 28 and 29. Online tickets are available at a discounted rate. Weekend admission includes a tractor drawn wagon ride, corn maze and hay pyramids. You can also enjoy the pig races, a play area and themed activities depending on the weekend.
Outside of the Harvest Festival, you can visit the farm to pick and purchase fresh produce. You can pick your own produce or purchase produce from their farm stand. Underwood Farms also has a CSA program or you can purchase their produce from many Farmer’s Markets in the area.
3370 Sunset Valley Road
Moorpark, CA 93021
I highly recommend taking your kids to visit a real working farm. It’s a great way to teach them where food comes from and they just might try some new fruits or vegetables!