Pumpkins, pumpkins and more pumpkins in all shapes, sizes and varieties (and all organic) are available at the pumpkin patch of the Earthbound Farm farm stand in Carmel Valley. I haven’t seen many pumpkin patches, but I have seen enough, and so far this is the best one I have ever experienced. If I already had my own home and garden, I would have been loading up one of the pumpkin carts!
Located just a few minutes drive from the junction with Hwy 1, the Earthbound Farm farm stand cannot be missed, as pumpkins galore accent the entrance, but also the corner with Carmel Valley Road. I drove there for the first time just the other day to meet my new friend Dee, who suggested the place thinking I would enjoy it. And she was right, I did!
This is not your regular farm stand, and I don’t mean just because of the glorious selection of pumpkins and squashes. Like in any farm stand, you can buy fresh produce grown in their own farm, but also gourmet foods and gift items. And at the back of the shop you will also find a café where you can buy freshly prepared delicious food, and given that Earthbound Farm is certified organic, everything at the café is organic as well.
On top of that, as you can see, everything is beautifully displayed and decorated, so a feast for the eyes and my camera.
Earthbound Farm was originally funded in 1984 by Drew and Myra Goodman just up the street from the farm stand. Drew and Myra started with just a 2.5-acre raspberry farm, which they committed to farming organically. Since then, Earthbound Farm has grown to 50,000 acres. Can you imagine that? Given the pressure from the “big guys” to farm conventionally (read: with poisons), not to mention the lower costs of such poisonous farming (I know, a paradox if ever there was one), such a commitment to organic farming is to be commended. Extra special kudos go to Drew, Myra and their team!
Fancy a pumpkin bath?
Here is a pumpkin totem. And don’t forget: do not climb on the pumpkins!
But there is more out here than pumpkins. As I followed my camera, I found myself heading towards the back of the farm stand, where the pavilion is located. This is a covered space that can be used for picnics on regular days, but also classes, parties and various public and private events. It is also beautifully decorated in pumpkins, which makes me wonder what it will look like during the Holiday season. I will definitely be coming back to have a look.
Wait! What? There’s more? Oh yes. As you walk through, around and past the pavilion you will find the side entrance to… the herb garden! Don’t you just love the sign?
From what I could tell, the herb garden was fenced in by a hedge of climbers: roses, honeysuckle and clematis. So beautiful! And below is what looks like the official entrance, with yet more pretty, hand painted signs. Hmmm… I am just thinking that a little Shinrin-Yoku walk could be an interesting experience in a herb garden, the benefit of the wild made up by the variety of colors, fragrances and flavors. It would certainly make for an interesting tea ceremony.
Across from the herb garden I found the kitchen garden, carefully fenced in this time, as it would need to be critter-proof. Not sure which critters though, as all the ones I can think of, can jump over the fence easily. Everything in here is boxed in a tidy wilderness, and the pebble pathways allow you to access each area without getting muddy. Not that that is much of an issue in California, but it is raining today, so that made me think about it.
Just outside the kitchen garden are crops that do not need to be fenced in, and also enjoy more space. That was actually what we used to do at the restaurant. We had a fenced in kitchen garden, but things like potatoes, a bit of corn, pumpkins and such were grown in a patch outside the main gate.
Clearly corn, squash and beans grow well together. Making mental notes here.
Oh yes, there is also a berry patch, and with another pretty sign.
And crab apples in the image below.
For all the figs I have seen and eaten in my life, I have never seen figs like these! They should be ready in a few more days, so I will go back up there and try some.
Beyond the orchard you will find another very good thing: bee hives, proudly announced with this fun and pretty entrance.
I am not sure how I had missed this before, but on our way back I spotted yet another area that is the other side of the herb garden. This is an outdoor play area, clearly intended for children (so that would mean us) with a big stone labyrinth, and a teepee. I love labyrinths, and I always get excited when I find one.
I just loved this little bathtub used as a planter and decorated with a pumpkin, so I had to grab another photo on the way back.
After Dee and I were done with our exploration, we stopped to browse the shop where I purchased a kabocha squash, two lovely red pears and two pomegranates. We almost got something to eat at the café, but as we headed to check up on Honey Marie, Dee’s adorable dog, who was patiently waiting in the car as dogs are not allowed on the grounds, we decided to head into Carmel for lunch. But that will be a story for another day.
Now I would like to know: do you enjoy decorating with pumpkins? And will you be carving Jack-o-lanterns for Halloween? Do children come trick-or-treating to your home? If they do, what treats do you have for them? I was bummed to find out that, though I am in a residential area, children here in Carmel tend to all go trick-or-treating in a development just below the Mission. I may still decorate with a few pumpkins outside my door, just for the joy of it.
open daily: Mon-Sat 8:00 am – 6:30 pm; Sun 9:00 am – 6:00 pm
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And if you are inspired to cook with pumpkins and squashes, here are my recipes: