SLO County Pumpkin Farms
It's fall here on the central coast to judge by the masses of deep orange pumpkins popping up everywhere. For visitors or newly-established locals, I thought it might be handy to list those I'm familiar with here in the southern part of the county; if you have other favorites, please chime in!
My personal favorite is a small farmyard location in western SLO area, La Familia Ranch is on Los Osos Valley Rd on the way from SLO to LO. About 1/4 mile south of Turri Ranch Rd on LOVR. There is a large sign out on the road; a narrow farm lane leads up the hill to the sales area. Plenty of parking.
LFR offers pumpkins of all sizes and colors, hard squash, gourds, broom corn and sunflowers. The appeal to me is the tanquil ranchyard setting; it has an authenticity that many other farmstands in the area lack. Additional offerings: resident lap dog and tom cat, sheep, goats, calves, and a mildly spooky 'haunted woods' that is toodler-friendly. Open daily through November.
Windmill Farm in Nipomo/Los Berros area. Located right at the Los Berros Rd exit on 101 just north of Nipomo in southern SLO county. A very nice farmstand that offers their own and commercial fruits&
veggies, a gourmet foods line and now, lots of pumpkins and squash. A small petting zoo and plant nursery; they also offer fresh local-caught fish as available. Plenty of parking. Open 7 days year-round.
The Luffa Farm on Willow Rd in Nipom near Black Lake Golf Course. Luffa squash is their specialty. Open Wed-Sunday 10-4 p.m.
Avila Valley Barn is located off 101 on Avila Beach Rd just north of Shell Beach. Farmstand barn sales area from May till Dec; they grow most of their own peaches and apples as well as cane berries. Right now the place is bursting with pumpkins and gourds. Very heavy weekend traffic makes for a hectic scene. Petting zoo and pint-sized straw bale maze for kids. They now have an ice-cream parlor selling SLO Maid ice cream; I'm underwhelmed with their flavor choices. Gift shop features kitchen gizmos and old-fashioned kids toys. Open daily from 9 to 5:00. Large gravel/dirt parking lot.
I hope north coast/county folks chime in. I'd love to make a day of pumpkin-crawling!
Have to share a great tip- El Capitan Ranch on the 101, in the Gaviota area, runs a awesome "Haunted Hay" ride on the weekends.
A headless horseman- a lantern lit trail, spooky graveyards and lost souls popping out from behind brush- fun for kids and adults.
Happy Harvest Everyone!
My favorite 'find' at La Familia is the broom corn--fresh cut daily and $1/bundle for ten stalks! (I have to admit sometimes I go when passing on my way out to Los Osos just to pet the cat!>^..^< )
Just kidding--my pumpkin/squash collection is growing weekly. I love that I can get lots of mileage out of them: Halloween, Thanksgiving, and PIE!
Thank you for the great tip TJane- we really enjoyed the La Familia Farm- what nice folks and CHEAP pumpkins- the drive from Los Olivos was paid for the minute we saw the prices on even the large pumpkins- the most I paid was $3.00! What a great selection, what nice folks and the kids loved the "jail" the maze and the hike through the forest!
Next we stopped, after breezing thru See Canyon, and had picnic lunch at the Avila Barn- the stacked hay bale house was awesome- and it is the first time ever I have been without even entering the store- we ate and left- it was packed with multitudes of smilling preschoolers!
After a quick stop at AG Trader Joes- we hit up the Windmill Farms- not much new there, but what a beautiful assortment of knick knacks, fresh fish, gourmet products, plants and general whatnots..
A great day on the Central Coast indeed!