Thursday, October 18, 2007
Bishop's Pumpkin Farm
Halloween is a tradition that has lasted many generations. The celebration originated as a Pagan holiday by the Celts in Ireland called Samhain and was brought to Northern America in the 19th century by Irish and Scottish immigrants. It is now celebrated around the world with slight adjustments to each region’s culture and religion.
In addition to wearing costumes, trick-or-treating, bobbing for apples, and carving pumpkins, visiting pumpkin farms has become a tradition in the Untied States.
Bishops Pumpkin Farm in Wheatland California is one of those farms. Bishops is just under an hour from Sacramento and well worth the trip. The farm includes all the excitement that a Halloween junky is looking for, and it is family friendly as well.
Bishops has acres of pumpkins ranging from hand-sized to as much as 200 pounds. They specialize in Winter Luxury pumpkins, which are great for pies. The fields are so big that they have included free hayrides to help cart you around, especially if you have to carry a 200 pounder.
They also have a three-acre corn maze complete with a maze challenge that helps you navigate through the field. The stalks are at least eight feet tall so you have no idea where you are, or if you’ve already been at that spot before. If you complete the challenge, you win a prize.
Another adventure at Bishops is Coyote Mountain Mines. Coyote Mountain has a 30-foot and a 50-foot slide and a stream below where you can pan for marbles. This adventure is more exciting for the kids, but if you are young at heart, you will love to plummet 50 feet to the bottom. Plus, you get to keep the marbles that you find!
You can also ride the BPF Railroad while you are there. The train takes you on a tour of the entire farm, including the apple and walnut orchards and right past the horses. The train ride is a great way to relax and rest up after seeing the pig races and the chicken show.
The best part of the trip to Bishops is the food. This year, the farm has built “Pigadeli Square.” Here, you can munch on pizza, corndogs, hamburgers, BBQ tri-tip sandwiches and delicious icecream. Mrs. B.’s Bakery offers baked goods that Martha Stewart would envy. The apple-pumpkin muffin is the mort popular item, but make sure you take home a pumpkin pie. Bishops is the only farm where you can get a from-scratch pie made with pumpkins fresh from the farm.
Bishop’s Pumpkin Farm is open every day at 9 a.m. and closes at 6 p.m. on weekdays, 7 p.m. on Friday and Saturday. Admission is free, but it costs $8 to park on the weekends, and the maze, train, and mountain each cost $3.50. If you plan on participating in all three adventures, then you can get a fun pack for $8.