Merced County Times Newspaper
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Families enjoying farm harvest fun, pumpkin patches

Times Photos by Jonathan Whitaker


These days, excited children are running around and looking for the best pumpkins at farm locations across the county.

Vista Ranch on Highway 140 in Merced has once again opened its annual pumpkin patch, corn maze and harvest fun zone. The amusement area also aims to educate young people about farm life and how food is grown.

Pumpkin Patches & Fun On The Farm

Vista Ranch

The colorful pumpkin patch and family fun zone at Vista Ranch, 7326 E. Highway 140 in Merced, comes from roots that started growing 20 years ago. Many locals will remember it used to be called the Bear Creek Pumpkin Patch, located just down the road on the way to Le Grand.

Vista Ranch, however, has taken the patch to a whole new level with all kinds of orange and heirloom pumpkins for purchase, a corn maze, and kids games. The patch is open daily from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., through Oct. 31. On weekends, they offer wood fired pizza in the picnic area from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. There’s also live music from noon to 2 p.m. — a perfect setting for a family picnic.

Fruit Barn

On your way to or from Vista, stop by the Merced Fruit Barn, at 4526 Highway 140. The Fruit Barn has all sorts of fresh produce, fruit baskets and unique gift items, but this time of year it’s all dressed up for the fall season. They have a picnic area and barnyard animals that roam about. They are open Monday through Sunday, 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.

Merced College

The annual U-Pick Pumpkin Sale, sponsored by the Merced College Agriculture Division, will be held on the weekends of Oct. 19, 20, 26, 27, from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m, along G Street, at the northeast side of campus. Proceeds from the sale benefit the Merced College Farm. Pumpkin prices range from $.50 cents to $8 and all pumpkins will be sold. They will also have pumpkins at the Farmers Market on campus Tuesday evenings. Bring your family and friends for a great time.

Hunter Farms

Hunter Farms, 2985 Southern Pacific Avenue in Atwater, is a true farming experience for the whole family. The farm offers all kinds of pumpkin varieties and fun family activities. It’s like a local ag-tourism resort. They feature backdrops for family photos, hay rides, a corn maze, a petting zoo, a tractor train ride, and special days for school trips and private parties. They are open 11 a.m. to dusk on weekdays, and 10 a.m. to dusk on weekends.

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