Marin’s best pumpkins

Caroline Fogarty

Ian’s Pumpkin Patch

690 Redwood Highway, Mill Valley: Off the Tiburon exit and past In-N-Out, a lot which normally houses children’s play structures and occasionally Christmas trees has been transformed into a chaotic mix of orange and gold. Bright round pumpkins are perched on hay bales that are scattered on either side of a walkway. The walkway is lined by white posts that are not only the fixtures for strung up lights, but also cute characters cut out of wood and painted. The constant buzz of traffic and air being blown into the three bouncy houses create an ambiance that contrasts sharply the feeling one would feel in a real pumpkin patch. The prices range from $1-$25, and the pumpkins are ideal for conventional carving, with not much variety.

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Bon Air Shopping Center, Greenbrae: A lone bouncy house can be seen as one drives by Bon Air Shopping Center on Sir Francis Drake. Upon closer inspection, it can be identified as part of a tiny pumpkin patch that takes up a few parking spots just outside Jamba Juice. Hay is laid down to obscure the light grey of the pavement below and pumpkins are strew on hay bales. This patch is alive and exciting, even in the small space the bounce house looks to be at full capacity with kids that begged their mom’s to come after grocery shopping. “This patch is smaller than our others, but we need more pumpkins all the time. The other stores help our business a lot,” said employee Sean. Similar to Ian’s other patch the pumpkins are priced from $1-$25.

Kevin’s Pumpkin Patch

100 Shoreline Highway, Mill Valley: “You learn this after being in the industry for 34 years, Kevin loves pumpkins, like loves them,” said an employee. Kevin visits about every two days and his love shows. In Mill Valley, off the Stinson Beach exit, this patch has hundreds of pumpkins winding from a fountain bursting with pumpkins, leading to giant pumpkins too large to fit your arms around. These pumpkins come from all over California and there are new shipments coming in all the time. The prices here range from $1-$150. Unlike Ian’s Pumpkin Patch, this patch has tons of pumpkins of all shapes and colors. “We had a birthday party here last week; Kevin handpicked each kid’s pumpkin. He knew that if anyone’s was bigger than anyone’s there would be tears,” said an employee. There is a family feel at this patch the employees are friendly and approachable.

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