|Harvesting family fun
Josh Wade, Wesley Methum spend summer growing sprawling pumpkin patch on Petaluma Hill Road
It’s taken nearly five months and entire summer of working eight hours every Saturday, but best friends Josh Wade, 13, and Wesley Methum, 15, have finally opened their pumpkin patch to the public.
Located on Petaluma Hill Road near Crane Canyon Road at Wade’s family home, Eastside Seasonal Farms and Pumpkin Patch, is the fruition of the summer project for Wade and Methum, which actually began in April.
Inspired by the suggestion of Wade’s mother and guided by Wade’s father, Rob, the patch was meant to give the friends a work ethic, hands-on experience in the world of small business and an inside look at the world of business management.
“I think for the first year it’s gone really well,” said Rob Wade, who worked with the boys from the beginning of the project, planning, organizing and, of course, planting with the boys every Tuesday and Saturday of summer. Now that the patch has opened, the elder Wade helps the boys sell and manage their stock and, maybe more importantly, drives the hay-ride tracker for any visitor or costumer wanting a ride around the patch. “(It teaches) good values for the boys to see what it takes to build a business.”
The boys clearly seemed to have learned something from those summer Saturday work days, because their patch is full grown with pumpkins of every shape and color and has developed into a small event area with activities for visitors that has extended past the initial plan of being simply a pumpkin patch.
The farm is located off Petaluma Hill Road, just between Rohnert Park and Santa Rosa and opens up to a dusty dirt road that leads you to a stop just before the blue Wade house. The patch stretches nearly the entirety of the property, stuffed with Jarrahdale, Atlantic Giants, Connecticut Fields and every other pumpkin variation imaginable, and is lined with a thin row of corn.
Home for goats
There is a wooden pen just before the patch, holding three very friendly and very hungry goats, Ranger, Tucker and Rocky, who are always welcoming a few pats or some tasty strands of hay. The boys have also constructed a maze and a tall pyramid of hay to journey through and climb on. There is a bean bag toss and Rob Wade stands at the ready to take anyone around the farm on a hay tracker ride. Wade and Methum also planted a patch of sunflowers, where a duck named Posey spends most of her time sleeping when she’s not eating pellets out of costumers’ hands.
Finally, there is a small stand where you can purchase pre-decorated pumpkins and hats and scarves, some cleverly made to look like pieces of candy corn. All this was handmade by Wade’s and Methum’s little sisters Josie Wade and Allie Methum, who will tell you they also helped with the pumpkin patch by weeding and planting, despite what their bothers might tell you.
Eastside Seasonal Farms and Pumpkin Patch officially opened on Sept. 14, when the pumpkins were finally ripe and ready for sale. Though Methum admitted the early opening saw slow business, the patch has welcomed more visitors these past few weeks and the boys anticipate this weekend to be their busiest with Halloween just around the corner.
According to Methum, their patch has 1,500 pumpkin plants and he estimates at least two pumpkins to each of those plants. As if the quantity of the pumpkins wasn’t enough, the boys have taken the time to plant a handful of different kinds of the squash to make sure they offer every taste of Halloween. The most popular pumpkin thus far has been the Jarrahdale, a silvery green pumpkin that will give a haunted new look to a jack-o-lantern and is apparently great for cooking. In between planting and selling pumpkins, managing the farm and chasing down the duck, Methum and Wade are back in homeschooled classes. Methum also fits time in for guitar lessons and cross country running and Wade time for football practice.
Eastside Seasonal Farms is open Thursday through Sunday with times varying on the day and weather. To learn more about the farm, see their times and like them on Facebook to get coupons for pumpkins, or go to their webpage at eastsideseasonalfarm.com.