Bates Nut Farm* is San Diego’s classic pumpkin patch with gourds of all varieties — huge, mini, grey, white, striped, even a type called “turban.” Located about an hour from downtown in Valley Center, this farm really does it up for fall — straw maze, hay rides, petting zoo and pony rides. Even though Eaman and I are total children and really love doing kiddie things, we just wanted to revel in the pumpkin patch and bring Teddy along. (Leashed dogs are allowed everywhere on the farm except in the store. Bring water for them; it gets hot and dry.) It’s a stunning open space with mountains on one side and corn fields on the other. Yes, I wore a tank top and skirt and it was in the 70’s, but the environment sure felt like fall.
I know pictures make you think one thing, but do know that it WAS NOT EASY BRINGING TEDDY. He’s a canine vacuum cleaner and sucks everything up in sight — whether we’re on a casual walk or at a pumpkin patch. I spent half the time pulling out pumpkin stems from his mouth. Apart from that, he was actually pretty well-behaved! He was extremely popular with the kiddies running around and seemed really amused to climb on top of the pile pumpkins. And because we’re totally annoying and cheesy, we selected two pumpkins for Teddy, put them on the ground and let him pick one. You see, we each brought home a pumpkin: a giant one we’ll carve (Eaman’s), a small white one (mine) and a round orange one (Teddy’s). We also put him in a wheelbarrow at one point. I told you we’re annoying.
There’s also a store full of snacks, nuts and classic candy like Warheads and Double Bubble in barrels. There’s other packaged candy, but I think it’s kind of a crock that they’re selling Sour Patch Kids in different packaging to make you think you’re buying homemade candy. They’re selling you a story. I chose to buy into that story only for the unique candy: chocolate-covered gummy bears, mint chocolate malt balls and pumpkin almonds. I ate half the gummy bears on the way home and the other half after dinner that night. Whoops.
* My friend who grew up in San Diego and went to Bates on school field trips said kids lovingly refer to it as Nate’s Butt Farm. I honestly can’t stop laughing when I say it out loud.