It’s that time of year when warm colors emerge, apple cider warms chilled hands, and pumpkin reigns king on every coffee shop sign. After scrolling through Instagram, I came across a friend’s photo and saw she went to a pumpkin patch. It’s been quite a few years since I went to a farm and picked out my own pumpkin for Halloween. So I thought, “why not?” Besides, I needed to educate my city-based boyfriend in the ways of a Minnesota pumpkin patch. From my understanding, San Francisco has spots to pick pumpkins but there aren’t farms to visit to make it a full fall festival experience.
I really wanted to share a nostalgic pumpkin patch with him but I found we wouldn’t be able to go. It broke my heart to hear the farm I used to visit as a child went out of business; I’m fine now but I still find shattered pieces of my heart on the ground occasionally. It’s fine. Anyway, I wasn’t going to let one farm’s closure stop me from reliving my childhood while showing my boyfriend a Minnesotan farm. After researching social media, Google, and asking family, we decided to visit Pinehaven Farm in Wyoming. It’s about forty-five minutes north of the twin cities located off the interstate. The farm has a lot to offer for all types of crowds whether it’s day or night. For the lively bunch, family-friendly attractions are available during the day. The night attractions offer a less-lively crowd as the undead are unleashed. While I don’t have the stomach for it, many people go to see the plethora of zombies, ghouls, and hauntings to be scared for a night. The farm has a monster bus where you can actually ride and shoot zombies with paintball guns. They also offer a haunted hayride through acres of land. I admit I’m a simple person that can’t handle the slightest of frights. So, I’ll just be covering the attractions we were able to see on a Friday afternoon before MEA weekend.
Anticipating the crowds, we decided to go before the chaos ensued. As it was a first for both of us, we were impressed with the organization, signage, and structure on the 160-acre property. As expected, the farm was just that. A place where animals, fences, and crops, called home. What was surprising was the number of established buildings and attractions for tourists that were built on this farm over the years. They had so many booths, entertainment stands, and benches that it’s a wonder I haven’t visited this place before. The farm has so much to offer it’s almost too much to blog about so I’m going to touch on my favorite aspects of Pinehaven Farm while pointing out some modern updates they added to their setup.
As the world moves with technology, I love a quick no-contact scan at any entrance of an attraction I’m paying to experience. Modern days and modern ways is a phrase I like to say. We ordered our tickets online, had a link sent to my phone, and easily scanned in at the front ticket office. The quick entrance allowed us to move in smoothly without confusion or holding up a line where kids behind us anxiously waited to go inside. While I love chatting with workers to see how their day is going, I also understand they have a business to tend to. A seamless line entering a place of interest is one of the best first impressions you can give your audience. I used to work at Disney World so if you’ve ever been there for the moment they open the gates, you know what I’m talking about. Moreover on the tickets, we went on a day where the tickets cost us $12.00 each. As their days vary in pricing it’s worth checking the Pinehaven Farm website. If you haven’t made it out there yet, I recommend going. It’s not too late to carve your pumpkin, you know!
They have porta-potties within and outside the gates. It’s not often thought of by the crowds but planning out bathrooms that are accessible in multiple locations is a big deal in the hospitality industry. Daniel and I were there when the farm was decently empty and I can say that I could tell the large crowds they get on weekends just by the number of bathrooms they have on their property. It was great to see they even had running water stations to wash your hands. I personally hate using bathrooms where I can’t wash my hands with soap so this was a relief to see and use.
Making Furry Friends
Okay, I feel very torn on this subject and this is a post about the farm so I will leave political issues aside. Regardless of how I feel about petting zoos, they do have a setup where you can feed–and not pet–certain animals. They have food crank machines for twenty-five cents a handful to feed the goats, sheep, or chickens. They also have a wash station within this section so you can sanitize both before and after your encounter with these hungry friendly animals. While I was there, I quickly did reiki on the animals that approached us. I wanted to give them something in return for bringing so much happiness to children.
This Was Sketchy
Don’t you ever just have the itch to draw? Luckily they have a small red chalk barn set up to motivate your creative side. While my chalk skills aren’t the best, I was able to create a very strange-looking scarecrow while my counterpart decided to add kind words to the walls. It was fun either way. The entire inside of the barn is covered with chalk paint so anyone of any size can doodle to their heart’s content!
Sugar + Apples = Fall
A food truck dedicated to mini donuts sits in a very open part of the concession area so I’d like to think it’s a big hit when the crowds flow in. I’m a personal fan of mini donuts and to further compliment Pinehaven Farms, they have hot apple cider ready for the coldest days. I was one happy Minnesotan lady. What more could an autumn food connoisseur want? Fortune smiled on us that day as we scored two bags of mini sugary goodness because the first donuts batch burned by accident. The staff member was really kind and let us have both the burnt and perfectly cooked bags. One bag usually goes for $5.50 so we were rather pleased as you can imagine. After eating all the sugar, we needed liquid sugar to wash it all down. We followed our donut purchase with two 12 oz hot apple ciders which came to $6.00. By the end of our ordering experience, we were very happy with our food and beverage decisions.
Shucks To Get Lost
You can’t experience an all-inclusive autumn pumpkin picking experience in Minnesota without going to a corn maze. This is why this farm is my new favorite and yearly staple. It met all of my pumpkin patch criteria and getting lost was no exception.
Making Dreams Come True (funny story!)
I realize how ridiculous it is now looking back at this memory but I was actually quite frantic in these photos. Right next to the corn maze was this field of sunflowers. I have never stood in one and it’s been on my bucket list for so many years. I felt like a dream had come true while standing in this one. I’m ashamed now to say I rushed through the experience but I wasn’t sure if we were allowed to go into this field. I didn’t see anything explicitly saying “Do Not Enter” but my guess is that if we had to find an opening in the fence to get there it’s probably not part of the fall fest. Next time, I’ll be sure to find a field where I can take my time and really enjoy the flowers to the fullest extent.
Thanks to John Deer and the driver Steve, we were able to make it to the Pinehaven pumpkin field. Steve acted as our friendly and well-educated guide. He told us about the patch and what to expect for pumpkins. He had me hooked when he suggested we had a slight chance of seeing “teal pumpkins.” Of course, I scavenged the whole pumpkin field to find a teal pumpkin and was successful (second picture in slideshow). My pumpkin is currently on my dining table, proudly shining in all its blue glory. I will not be carving this beauty. It’s perfect just the way it is.
Those are my top notes from my time at Pinehaven farm. If you want to see a video watch the reel below!
Keeping It Reel
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