FAIRFIELD — Beating the weekend crowds and taking in some rather warm October weather, a number of families took to the pumpkin patch at Larry’s Produce this week in Suisun Valley.
With temperatures reaching into the upper 80s and minimal breeze, the long shadows of fall belied the positively August-like heat.
Dozens of children ran and played on the hay fort and dived into the corn pit, while others – and parents, too – pondered the choices among hundreds of pumpkins.
“Summer came late. Look how hot it is,” said Celia Ortiz of Fairfield, who was enjoying the pumpkin patch with a handful of children, including Luke Nobili, 6, and Gabe Nobili, 8, for whom she is a nanny.
Ortiz also brought daughter Alayna Ortiz, 8, and nieces Peaches Ortiz, 8, and Della Ortiz, 5, along for the afternoon’s adventure.
“Some after-school fun, it’s not so busy,” she said. “Better to be out here now, beat the crowd.”
It was Ortiz’s first time at Larry’s for the pumpkin patch.
“Somebody was telling me about this, because we went to Silveyville last week,” she said. “There was a lady in Dixon, she said, ‘Have you been to the Larry’s one? It’s really nice. It’s one of the best.’ And I said, ‘Larry’s, one of the best pumpkin patches? OK.’ ”
With all five children swimming happily in the corn pit, it didn’t disappoint.
“Hidden gem is a good word. You can pick your flowers, buy your fruit,” said Ortiz, who lives in Suisun Valley. “Hours of fun.”
Some people came from a little farther away, yet they have been coming to Larry’s for years.
Sabrina Costa of Dublin and her mother, Dina Santos of Martinez, were taking in the whole experience at Larry’s, with plans to pick up fresh fruit and vegetables as well as some traditional Halloween squash.
While the produce originally brought the family to Suisun Valley, the pumpkin patch was the main attraction Thursday.
“We always have fun when they’re here,” Costa said, as her children, 4-year-old Gabriela and 6-year-old Adrian, played happily nearby. “They come and they learn different things, too, like picking things on their own – it’s a lot of fun.”
As Gabriela Costa played in the corn pit, Santos just smiled and laughed.
“She’s making corn angels,” Santos said. “I wish I had a camera.”
It was all about the food for years, she said.
“Fresh fruit and the prices, you can’t beat them. We have a lot of large events, once in a while, so we come here for that. We also get things for the rest of the family,” Santos said.
Now with the youngsters, it’s the pumpkin patch.
“This is really nice. Every time we come it’s bigger and bigger,” she said.
Some came from out of town, seeking an alternative to streetside pumpkin patches with their often-overstimulating array of activities.
“It’s a pumpkin patch. An old-school pumpkin patch, not one of those (with) jumpers and high cost,” said Allison McCown of Hercules.
Husband Mike McCown agreed.
“This gets you homed in on what it’s all about. This is pretty cool. Harvest fest-type (thing),” he said.
The pair brought their 2-year-old daughter Alliya and 9-year-old niece Mikayla along to find the perfect pumpkins for their family carving contest.
“It’s a family competition to see who can carve the coolest pumpkin,” Mike McCown said, smiling as Mikayla perused the pumpkin varieties.
For Allison McCown, it was a trip down memory lane.
“Just playing with the dirt like we used to when we were small,” Allison McCown said. “Just give them a pool of corn. That’s the best part.”
Reach Mike Corpos at 427-6979 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/mcorposdr.