Local goblins and ghouls need not go far for their annual pumpkins, fun and jack-o-lanterns as Sons Farm Fresh has opened its Pumpkin Patch for the third year.
Located on the east end of Oakdale at 1936 E. F St., the “Sons”: Madison, Jackson, Allison and Hudson Ruvalcaba have been bringing fresh fruit and veggies to the area for six years running.
“The pumpkin patch is a whole other deal. It’s a lot of fun,” Jackson said of the newest part of the business.
Early on eldest sibling Madison had expressed an interest in expanding to a Pumpkin Patch, which three years ago became reality. This year the patch, which opened in mid-September, occupies close to an acre of the stand property and is complete with a variety of pumpkins, a haunted maze, hay maze, two corn pits, a petting zoo, as well as a variety of backdrops for photo ops.
“Every year we’ve added on so much stuff,” co-owner Jackson Ruvalcaba stated. “We’ve grown more pumpkins. This is actually the first year we’ve grown every single pumpkin in this pumpkin patch right now.”
Of the pumpkins grown by the family, customers will find a variety of over 40 different types.
“We grew it by seed, hand-picked it and brought it over here from our farm,” the eldest brother said of their Oakdale family ranch.
“The nice thing about pumpkins, you can leave them on the vine for a long time,” he continued. “As long as you’re maintaining your plant, they’ll be fine. They’re not as temperamental, they’re more hardy.”
As Jackson speaks of the Pumpkin Patch, he shares the photo op locations which seem to please visitors. These include a pumpkin house, a pumpkin pond and a mum wall, which is not to be missed.
New to the patch this year are a Petting Zoo and a Rock and Gem mining area.
“We own all of the animals inside of the petting zoo except the lambs and the rabbits,” he said. “Those are from Sierra 4-H.”
As the eldest and the leader of the family business, Jackson shared that he and sister Madison spent most of the off season building the structure for the petting zoo as well as the rock and gem area. He added that, as a family which has grown up with lots of animals, the petting zoo was something they always wanted to bring to the patch.
“We did a lot of upgrading projects as well,” he shared. “For example, we have a lot more seating this year. We have 20 more tables that people can sit at with umbrellas and lighting.”
The extra seating is an asset which is needed, as the Sons Pumpkin Patch is ideal for families of all ages. Picnic tables offer opportunity to sit for a snack or simply take a rest while children play.
The family also added a lot of extra lighting this year to allow for some spooky outdoor fun with their daily “Light the Night,” featuring strings of lights throughout the venue beginning at around 5 p.m. daily. The Sons Pumpkin Patch is open seven days a week from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. and admission is free. Pumpkin Patch visitors are encouraged to park in the rear of the location, allowing parking for farm stand visitors up front.
Admission fees do apply for the petting zoo, haunted maze and rock and gem mining. Pumpkins are priced by size.
“Once we perfect the Pumpkin Patch and get this real dialed in, I think that’s our next step,” Jackson said of plans to add a Christmas event in the future.
“Six years ago when we opened up the Fruit Stand, I would have never have thought to have a pumpkin patch, but now that it’s here … it’s so much fun,” he continued. “Every year we’re trying to make it better and better and add on fun stuff.”
The petting zoo includes farm animals, as well as reptiles, which is Jackson’s admitted contribution. Visitors are able to pet and interact with the animals with some help of Sons staff.
“Every year we’re definitely changing and learning from our mistakes,” he shared. “You know just trying to grow this and see where it takes us.”
With younger siblings Allison and Hudson still in school, Jackson and Madison remain as the primary business leads year-round. A sibling partnership, which Jackson describes as fun, noting that they are both creative in different areas.
“The creativity of it is really fun. Or even like, before I grew these pumpkins, I had no idea there were blue pumpkins. I didn’t know that was a thing,” he said.
“It’s a good feeling when you see all the kids having fun.” he continued. “Just seeing the smile on their face, makes us so happy.”
The Sons Pumpkin Patch will remain open daily through Halloween. Halloween day and evening the team will host Halloween fun and activities which will also be free to the public. Now through the end of October, they will also host a variety of vendors Friday through Sunday to add to the community experience. The Pumpkin Patch offers something for visitors of all ages.
For information on upcoming events and vendors scheduled, visit their social media page at sonsfarmfresh.