By Marianne Lincoln
Harvest is the best part of fall. When the colors come out on the trees, the beautiful gold, orange and green are also down on the farm. What better way to celebrate it than to take yourself and your family to a pumpkin party at a local farm.
The valley between Sumner and Orting have several Halloween themed farms as does the Nisqually Valley. Pumpkins are not the only thing you will find there. Veteran Pumpkin patch dwellers may start out looking for their great pumpkin, but end up lost in a corn maze, petting farm animals, or shooting small pumpkins or corn cobs with a giant sling shot or cannon.
Lifting is not currently one of my strong suits after a back surgery, but I still managed to find a large, tall pumpkin and draft someone to load it for me. The wheelbarrows aren’t hard to find on a weekday. They are often scarce on October weekends.
Since I am currently spending a lot of time at home recuperating, some Fall color and some delightful prepared foods were both on my radar. One great pumpkin, a must for the door stoop was accompanied with two small ones that make much better cake and pies and their flesh isn’t so stringy. To add color and creativity, I picked up several gourds. In the farm store, I chose Schultz’s Bread and Butter Pickles, Peach Salsa and a Creamy Cucumber Dressing.. At Spooner’s I could not resist tasting a sample of fudge, picking up a jar of Bourbon Pecan Caramel Sauce and admiring a wall full of IPA’s that told the location each product was made in Washington. Others couldn’t resist the fresh caramel corn and assortment of other candies and jams.
Strolling through the displays of colorful, weird gourds, scarecrows and other costumed creatures with pumpkin heads, creative displays from giant spiders to prize pumpkins can take hours. Watching the children delight and desire these magical farm products, then choose and carry off their prize is a heartwarming experience. Even by myself, the visit was very enjoyable and my front door isn’t so barren anymore.
At home, the pumpkins and gourds were placed on the stoop with some colorful mums that were reasonably priced at Safeway. I decided a little of my cooked pumpkin would go nicely as the base in a fresh beef stew. Dessert was a pumpkin spice cake with penuche frosting topped with a drizzle of that bourbon pecan caramel sauce, heaven from the farm.