In search of the Great Pumpkin

Walton Farm Pumpkin Patch gives local residents an option right near home

What: Walton Farm

Where: 1617 N.E. 267th Ave., Camas. Signs point the way.

When: Open from 10 a.m.

to 6 p.m. through Saturday.

Cost: Admission is free. Train rides cost $1, and pumpkins

are 40 cents per pound.

What: Walton Farm

Where: 1617 N.E. 267th Ave., Camas. Signs point the way.

When: Open from 10 a.m.

to 6 p.m. through Saturday.

Cost: Admission is free. Train rides cost $1, and pumpkins

are 40 cents per pound.

Every October for the past five years, Jeff Walton has hosted a pumpkin patch at his Camas farm. It’s a quiet place, without the hubbub and chaos of some of the larger pumpkin patches.

And this suits Walton just fine.

“Since I took over the farm 28 years ago, I’ve always wanted to grow pumpkins,” he said. “I really wanted this for the little kids. That way they don’t feel overwhelmed like they may at some of the larger farms.”

Walton, who also serves as a volunteer firefighter with East County Fire and Rescue, said he has a “soft spot,” for children with disabilities.

“I arrange special tours for them, then take them to the fire station afterward,” he said. “They love it.”

Teenage neighbors help manage the pumpkin patch, which is open through Halloween.

“It reminds me of how it used to be around here,” Walton said.

The pumpkin patch offers children the chance to feed baby goats, ride on a “train” pulled by a tractor, and pick out pumpkins.

Jen Haralson of Washougal brought her son, Owen, 2, and his friend, Sarah Nilles, 2 1/2, to the pumpkin patch on a chilly Thursday last week.

“It’s the first time we’ve beenhere,” she said. “It looked like they had fun stuff for little kids to do, so I thought I’d check it out. The kids really enjoyed feeding the goats and pulling the wagons. The pumpkins were pretty irrelevant.”

Walton said he can’t pick just one favorite aspect of running a pumpkin patch.

“I like it all,” he said. “The whole thing. We have some die-hard little kids who come out here to ride the train. They don’t care if it’s pouring down rain.”

His mother, Marilyn, flew in from Nebraska this year to see the pumpkin patch first hand.

“I came in June for my grandson’s graduation, and helped prepare the soil and plant the seeds,” she said. “I told Jeff that I was going to come back out to see the result of our hard work.”

Marilyn gladly took the job as “train conductor,” guiding little ones through a bumpy ride around the farm.

“This is wonderful,” she said. “I’ve really enjoyed the little kids. I just love seeing their little eyes light up. I think I have more fun than the kids do.”

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