It wouldn’t be fall without the tradition of choosing and carving your very own pumpkin. We’ve rounded up a few of Southern Idaho’s best pumpkin patches – and just like pumpkins, the local patches come in all shapes and sizes. As soon as the leaves start changing, gather the family and let the search begin!
Landers Pumpkin Patch
106 North 600 West, Paul Idaho
This pumpkin patch proves that a little growth every year brings forth a great harvest. This fall marks the 23rd year Dan and Doreen Landers have been welcoming visitors to their sprawling country property consisting of seven acres of pumpkins, six acres of squash, two acres of Indian corn and one-half acre of gourds.
“It all started originally as a Boy Scout project; my sons needed a merit badge in gardening and farming,” Dan Landers says. “So they learned how to run a tractor and also learned they could make money selling the pumpkins.”
That first half-acre pumpkin patch laid the groundwork for what would become a great supplemental income source for Landers’ children and a worthwhile hobby for Dan.
“It’s a decorator’s paradise. We have 14 varieties of pumpkin, 9 varieties of squash, 15 different gourds and a mix of ornamental corn,” he says.
Prices start at a quarter for the tiniest Jack Be Little pumpkin varieties to $30 for decorative stalks of pre-cut and bunched corn.
“From starting this as a one-year Boy Scout project, it just kind of got out of hand,” Dan says. “We have everything anyone wants for their fall decorating.”
For hours of operation call the Landers, or just stop by.
2862 Addison Avenue East, Twin Falls
This nursery provides the backdrop for some of the Magic Valley’s most favorite events, including Christmas in the Nighttime Sky, the spring Easter egg hunt, and a pumpkin patch in the fall.
What sets Kimberly Nursery’s patch apart is its Pumpkin Festival. The kid-directed day of fun starts at 11 a.m. on October 25. Free treat bags are given to the first 100 youngsters in costume and festivities include a large jumping balloon, fishing pond, face painting, straw maze and more. Entry into the pumpkin patch is free, but a nominal fee is charged for the extra amusements, like the maze and jumping balloon.
“All of the proceeds go to a local charity. Last year we raised $500 for the Pregnancy Crisis Center, a quarter at a time – it does add up,” says Sherry Wright, who owns the nursery with her husband Dave Wright.
“We open the patch the first weekend in October and have a lot of the events throughout the season, but the big event is the Pumpkin Festival,” she says.
The patch is open during regular business hours and is the perfect place to bring kids for an afternoon outside. With room to roam, visitors are encouraged to explore the grounds.
“Kids can bring their wagon and pick their own pumpkin. We get a lot of field trips and there is always a lot to do,” Sherry says.
Crismor Pumpkin Patch
1748 East 4100 North, Buhl
It’s all about the honor system at this small patch just east of Buhl. For the past 10 years Leonard and Diane Crismor have allowed visitors into their patch to pick the pumpkin of their dreams. Just put the money in the box and enjoy.
“We get a lot preschools and even people just driving by, even people from Alaska or truckers on their way home that stop by and take pumpkins home,” Diane says. “We have had some challenges – people taking money out of the box, or the entire box – but we’ve got it set up now so the post and box is secure.”
The best part of owning the patch is seeing children pick their prize; that’s what keeps the couple planting pumpkins in their field year after year.
“The little kids will take the biggest pumpkin they can carry,” Diane says. “That’s great fun to watch.”
Their patch is also available for folks wanting some great fall photos. Prices for pumpkins run $1 to $5, depending on size. The Crismors also sell a limited amount of straw bales and a variety of decorative gourds.
“We’re just laid back,” Diane says. “We don’t get rich off it, but it’s not too bad of a money-maker. Pays for itself, plus a little. Mostly, it’s just for fun.”
Robin’s Pumpkin Paradise
Highway 27 into Oakley, follow the signs
This is more than a pumpkin patch – it’s Pumpkin Paradise.
Upon moving back to Oakley after 22 years in Reno, Nevada, Wayne Bench followed a dream and planted a pumpkin patch. He and wife Robin enjoyed the experience so much last fall that they planted the patch again this year.
“We had seen so many in Reno – we’re talking 20-acre parcels – they were a big deal and looked like something we could do,” Wayne says. “Last year it was a success in a sense; we broke even.”
This year Robin’s Pumpkin Paradise will kick-off the season with a free party on September 20th. They’re planning for food, live music entertainment, mini corn maze, haunted house, pumpkin bowling and wagon rides.
“The colors are brilliant and it’s going to be a great time,” Wayne says. “The patch is something day care centers and grade school kids can come out and just have fun.”
Entry into the patch is free and pumpkins are priced from 50 cents
“Oakley has a lot of historic buildings and homes to enjoy and we just want to add another reason for people to come visit our town,” Wayne says. “I think I’ll do this until I die. Last year we had people from all over and even out of state. We had no complaints whatsoever and people just enjoyed themselves.”
Robin’s Pumpkin Paradise is open until 10 p.m., seven days a week, beginning September 20.