Searching for the perfect pumpkin

With October coming to an end, grab your family and friends and head out to one of four pumpkin patches located in San Benito County

With Halloween right around the corner, families may be wondering where to go to get pumpkins.  Luckily for people living in the county, there are four great options where locally grown pumpkins can be bought. These options range from a quick stop in San Juan Bautista, to a potential multi-hour exploration of Swank Farms in Hollister.

If you are looking for a wide variety of pumpkins to choose from, but would like to avoid crowds the pumpkin patch located at 1942 San Juan-Hollister Road in San Juan Bautista is the place for you. Open Friday-Sunday 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., this pumpkin patch carries traditional pumpkins, specialty pumpkins, as well as gourds. The variation of pumpkins found is not the only draw according to Shannon German, who also pointed out, “We have great low prices”. The pumpkin patch prices range from one dollar each to buying large pumpkins for roughly forty dollars.

Heading east, the next pumpkin supply in San Benito County can be found at Bertuccio’s Market located at 2410 Airline Highway in Hollister. The pumpkin patch itself is located on Airline Highway north of the actual store on the same open lot where Mansmith’s is often parked. This pumpkin patch is open Friday through Sunday 9:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. and is operated on an honor system. As no employees are free to oversee the pumpkin patch during the many hours it is open, patrons are asked pay in the cash boxes located on site. Vincent Bacnat who works at Bertuccio’s Market explained, “We believe that most people are good and will pay for their pumpkin”. If you are looking to get a pumpkin from Bertuccio’s during a weekday you still have a chance. The store, located roughly 300 feet south of the pumpkin patch, also has pumpkins for sale Monday through Saturday 10 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. and Sunday 11a.m. to 4 p.m. Bertuccio’s Market also has local and organic produce in addition to other food items.

Heading north of Hollister, Swank Farms has moved to a new location at 4751 Pacheco Pass Highway in Hollister. Dick Swank, owner of Swank Farms, shared that Swank Farms is more than just a pumpkin patch, but a multi-hour experience for families, “We want the kids to have three to four hours of fun”.  Swank further explained that what sets Swank Farms apart from other pumpkin patches “is the corn maze and jumping pillows. We are the only ones with a giant pumpkin cannon”. Within the pumpkin patch itself, Swank estimates that there are fifteen to twenty different types of pumpkins to choose from.

While going into the pumpkin patch is free, to participate in the other activities, such as the Kiddy Corral, families can buy a wristband that covers all of the activities on site. Hours of operation for Swank Farms vary based on the day of the week. Monday through Thursday Swank Farms is open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.. Friday and Saturday they are opened from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. Sundays, Swank operates from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.  Swank Farms is open on Halloween until 10 p.m. where visitors can participate in this year's “Terror in the Corn”.

Another pumpkin patch located in San Benito County is in the northern end of the county at Casa de Fruta at 10021 Pacheco Pass Highway in Hollister. Throughout the month of October “Pumpkin Junction” is open from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. daily. Casa de Fruta has taken this seasonal activity beyond the traditional pumpkin patch experience and offers field trips to local schools. “If they come on field trips they do interactive learning about the pilgrims and they have a drum circle for the kids where they learn about Native Americans and the importance music had on their lives,” said Jennifer Simmons, who works at Casa de Fruta. As Simmons further explained, “ Families can either come out to Casa de Fruta to just get pumpkins or they can make a day of it where they can go on the train rides, carousel, playground, and a lot of different places to eat. This is the perfect family oriented place that wants everyone to have fun and enjoy their experiences there, even when it comes down to which pumpkin to get”.

With four very different pumpkin patches located within the county, there is something for everyone who is looking for a few pumpkins to add to their work or home space before the holiday season.


Becky Bonner

Becky Bonner is a local teacher at San Benito High School who is passionate about sharing things to do in San Benito County.