Tuesday, October 26, 2010

PumpkinFest 2010

Once upon a time, when we lived in California, Mr. Right and I had an October tradition -- we took off early on a Saturday morning and drove to Half Moon Bay, a funky little town on the coast south of San Francisco.  Half Moon Bay is, among other things, the Pumpkin Capitol of the Universe (or something like that).  There are a zillion pumpkin farms just south of town along the ocean.  So every year we'd head off, find ourselves a pumpkin, stop for green chile soup and berry pie at Duarte's Tavern (highly recommend it!) and then bump around town for the day.  I loved it, and it's one of the things I really miss about living in California.

So this Saturday, we decided to start a new tradition.  We (and the dog!) took off (not-so) early on Saturday morning...

made a tiny pit stop...

(I support local coffee houses, really, I do.  It's just that when you live 15 miles from anywhere, sometimes you have to deal with what's at your disposal.  Also, pumpkin spice lattes are yummy.)

...and drove to Penrose, a tiny little town south of Colorado Springs.  There we found Ferrara's Happy Apple Farm.

It's a super cute working farm that produces oodles of apples, bushels of berries and some pumpkins.  The place was packed with families and doggies (pets welcome!) and hay rides and tractors and fun.

We hiked through the orchard to the "pumpkin patch" where they had at least an acre of patch set aside with a total of 50 or so pumpkins in it, and only a few pumpkin plants we could see.  Boo.  Most of the pumpkins were in pretty sad shape.  We wandered around for a while searching in vain for a pumpkin and decided it was not to be.

Since we were having fun, and it was a beautiful day, we decided to wander over to the berry patch, then back to the farm store (amazing apple cider).  Along the back side of the farm, we came across 3 pallets with huge boxes of pumpkins on them.  The secret stash!  It took Mr. Right about 15 minutes to convince me we should go pull a (shiny and new) pumpkin out of the box to buy and take home with us.  I'm SUCH a rule follower, and we were supposed to pick pumpkins from the patch, and not from the boxes hidden by the garage, and... and...'s kind of ridiculous some times. 

Eventually I caved in, found the perfect pumpkin and we were on our way.  After we paid for our cider and our pumpkin, we bundled back into the truck and drove into town for some lunch. "Town" in Penrose's case is a feed store, a couple of tractor shops, a bar and The Gooseberry Patch...

We stumbled on this cute little restaurant on the way home from a rafting trip this summer and had been wanting to come back.  It's a buffet restaurant (which automatically makes me suspicious, as buffet food is almost never good), but we thought we'd give it a try.

Turns out that every. single. thing. in this buffet is homemade, from the salad dressings to the mac & cheese to the fried chicken, to the banana pudding and cookies for dessert.  And it is all kinds of awesome.  Everyone there is incredibly nice, the food is fantastic and we ate too much.

If you're ever in the neighborhood of Penrose, Colorado, you should go visit.

After lunch, we headed back up the highway toward home, stopping along the way at a little gourmet market to buy 2 more huge pumpkins.  Please, like one was going to be enough?

1 comment:

  1. I miss pumpkin and apple cider farms from Western New York state.

    Many years ago driving through New Mexico we found a family buffet restaurant in the little town of Elephant Butte. The food was so good we still talk about it 8 years later.