Fall is most definitely upon us, even here in Southern California. Despite the nearly 30 degree temperature changes every day the weather remains nice, sometimes too nice, but this past Sunday was an absolutely perfect day for a scenic drive, pumpkin picking, and apple pie.
Julian, California is a small town situated about 60 miles to the northeast of San Diego. Julian is best known for the apple orchards and is home to the Julian Pie Company, but this quaint little town has a lot more to offer. Among its other offerings, we think Julian's pumpkin patches are among some of the best in the area, so we packed up the car this past Sunday and headed out to pick some pumpkins. Our destination, a little family owned/operated farm outside of Julian proper across from the Apple Tree Inn on the Julian Highway (State Route 79).
This is the second year in a row we've gone up to this farm for pumpkins. Last year, we had originally ventured to Julian to pick apples, but only to find out the apple season was already done. We stopped at the Julian Mining Company to check things out there, pan for some gemstones, and happened upon their pumpkin patch across the street. We loved it so much we had to go back this year.
The pumpkin patch is located about 200 yards south of the Julian Mining Company's main site, and has tons of free parking. More than just pumpkin picking the pumpkin patch offers a petting zoo with some very friendly goats, hayrides, apple cider pressing, and the opportunity to throw a tomahawk and shoot a few arrows on their archery range.
Pumpkin picking at the Julian Mining Company is super fun and easy. The atmosphere is super relaxed, the selection of pumpkins is huge, and the best part is the prices are perfect. They have numerous wheel barrows and some wagons to use while you collect your pumpkins from the field. After you've picked, you fit it through one of the holes in their price board to determine how much it costs; only if the pumpkin doesn't fit does it get weighed.
We arrived at the pumpkin patch around 11:30am, and took our time petting the goats and taking a hayride before heading out to pick out our pumpkins.
With a wheelbarrow available to us, we plopped our son in it for his first every wheelbarrow ride as we headed out the pumpkin patch! (wheelbarrow rides area rite of passage for a kid right?) With more than one field of pumpkins there were plenty of pumpkins to choose from. After our son picked out his pumpkin (essentially the first one he saw and could pick up), he continued to pick up pumpkins and put them in the wheelbarrow (like he was going to get them all). And then he helped my wife and I pick out ours.
With the wheelbarrow now full, our son was a bit perplexed as to why he couldn't ride in the wheelbarrrow, but that was soon forgotten as we headed over to pick some corn directly from the corn stalks; this was a first for all of us, and our son took to it like he'd been doing it all his life.
During our hayride the owner invited us all to swing through the corn field and pick our own corn at an amazing price of two ears of corn for a $1. He warned us their might be worms in the top of the ears, but below the worms the ears would still be good. So it came as no surprise when we shucked the corn later that evening to find some hearty looking worms having a feast. Simply chopping of the worm eaten area made the ears ready for cooking.
After a fun time at the pumpkin patch we loaded up the car, and headed towards home with just one more stop planned. No trip to Julian is complete without stopping for some delicious apple pie at the Julian Pie Company.
The Julian Pie Company has a few different locations. We stopped at their store in San Ysabel which is where State Routes 78 and 79 intersect. The Julian Pie Company has a ton of different pies to choose from and we have yet to find one of their pies we don't like. During this visit we opted for a piece of their Dutch Apple and another of their mountain berry apple pie - I think our favorite was by far the mountain berry apple pie.
With bellies full of apple pie, the trunk full of pumpkins, and an extremely tired toddler we finally headed home for a restful afternoon and evening.
As fall firmly takes hold, what are you and your family doing to spend time together? What family adventures do you have planned?
For me, getting out of this house and giving my son the opportunity to experience different things in the world around him is important. These little family adventures, as chaotic and stressful as they can sometimes be, ultimately turn out to be some of the best memories we share. Getting a chance to create photographs of these little family adventures is my way of preserving these moments. When I look back at the photos from adventures like this one, I get the chance to relive these special times.
How can I help you preserve your family's moments and memories?