Farmer John’s Pumpkin Farm
We may not get very many signs of fall in the Bay Area, but the Half Moon Bay Pumpkin Festival stands out as one of our essential fall traditions. A notable farm to add to your visit list this fall is Farmer John’s Pumpkin Farm, a popular seasonal patch located on Highway 1 just north of Highway 92.
Farmer John – aka John Muller, a third-generation California farmer, Vietnam veteran, and former mayor of Half Moon Bay—is a real working farmer and the proprietor of a pumpkin farm, which has been a seasonal destination for 20 years. Year round, he operates Daylight Farms with his wife Eda near downtown Half Moon Bay, but opens this special treat just for the fall.
Farmer John’s Pumpkin Farm is always well appointed with pumpkin displays, perfect for photo ops for the season. However you won’t find pony rides or bounce houses here. Farmer John says he prefers to focus on the agriculture, children learning and families making their own fun. This year the farm is outfitted with a hay pyramid, a Native American tepee and an Ohlone hut.
Muller started the pumpkin farm as an education effort for children and their families to experience a working farm and learn how and where pumpkins grew. His initial program involved a school group planting a few pumpkins in the spring. In October, the students came back and harvested the pumpkins as a fundraiser for their school. After seeing the success of the program, Muller opened Farmer John's Pumpkin Farm to the public.
The farm’s community involvement continues, as it hosts under-served youngsters and school field trips almost every day of the week. Children each receive a pumpkin and are read the story “Spooky Square Pumpkin” – one of John’s favorites. The story teaches children about both pumpkins and people: As John is fond of saying: “Pumpkins are like people. They come in all sizes and colors. But on the inside we’re all the same.”
The pumpkin farm produces 60 different varieties of pumpkins as well as squash and gourds for decoration and cooking. The pumpkins come in shades of orange, yellow, green, blue, butter and white. This year’s special is a pale pink “Porcelain Doll” ornamental pumpkin, and a portion of its sales will go toward funding breast cancer research through the Pink Pumpkin Patch Foundation. The pumpkins are priced by John and his staff according to size, quality and quantity.
Pumpkin varieties include:
- Atlantic Giants (250-500+ lbs.)
- Cinderella and Fairy Tale
- Blues and Greens, Whites and Reds
- Jack Be Little
- Porcelain Doll
- Red (Red Kabocha, Red Kuri)
- Speckled Gourds
- Sugar Pie and Jumpin' Jack
- And mini pumpkins of different shapes and sizes
Farmer John's is located at 800 North Cabrillo Highway in Half Moon Bay. Open daily from 10 a.m.- 5 p.m. now through Oct. 31. Find more information at www.farmerjohnspumpkins.com.
The Half Moon Bay Art and Pumpkin Festival will be held Oct. 14-15, 2017. One of the oldest and largest local festivals in California, it features its famous display of gigantic champion pumpkins and a weigh-off, the Great Pumpkin Parade, expert pumpkin carvers, music and other entertainment, all things pumpkin in food and drink – and much more. Follow through the hastag #HMBPumpkinFest
Recipe: Check out Farmer John’s Pumpkin Soup!