October 10th, 2022

Tiny Travels: McMinnville’s Destination Pumpkin Patches

Three tiny figurines sit atop a large orange pumpkin.  Big boxes of pumpkins are in the background.
The Tiny Travelers enjoy a perfect autumn day at the pumpkin patch. Photo by Emily Grosvenor.

If you, too, have been gripped by the urge to travel to the country for the perfect pumpkin, you’re not alone.

And with the warm weather holding up, it’s a perfect time to head to the local patch with the kids (or not) to gather your festive harvest decorations, pick the ideal gourd for carving, or just revel in all the happiness of all the bright orange. 

McMinnville has a number of nearby options, from smaller farm stands to full-on pumpkin extravaganzas. 

For FUN: head to Heiser Farms

It’s a local tradition to take the kids to Heiser’s for the Grand Island family farm’s annual pumpkin patch events. Yes, there are pumpkins, but they are almost beside the point (hayrides take you out to the field to pick-your-own). Get ready for pumpkin cannons, the Maize Maze, pedal tractors for little kids, a haystack pyramid and slide, a giant pumpkin bounce house, and the miniature Grand Island Railroad. Past events have even taken visitors up in a helicopter ride to view the beauty of Grand Island from above. Check out the farm’s calendar for its current list of events and music schedule.

For VARIETY: head to Farmer John’s 

If you’re searching for that elusive Cinderella pumpkin – the lovely green variety of squash that looks plucked from a storybook – then Farmer John’s is the place. Set just off Highway 99W between McMinnville and Sheridan, it’s a favorite stop for people headed to the beach or looking to pick up local farmstead products. For pumpkin season, variety is their specialty – giant pumpkins and tiny, the full range of colors and textures, and enough fun, seasonal backdrops for family photos. If gourds aren’t your thing, you can always pick up a strawberry milkshake or some old-timey candy sticks.

15000 SW Oldsville Road

For BEAUTY, head to Bernards Farm

Pumpkins for carving and winter squash for roasting are just some of the produce on hand at Bernards’, a family farm, also between McMinnville and Sheridan. Locals love the fresh walnuts and hazelnuts – cracked and uncracked – as well as unpasteurized cider from the family’s on-site cider operation. But one of the main draws in Fall is the farm’s pick-your-own flower patch, a favorite site for family photos, Instagrammers, and anyone who just wants to revel in the majesty of fall dahlias and zinnias and other varieties.

18755 SW Highway 18

For HEIRLOOM, head to: Draper Farms

Five generations of the Draper family have farmed the land where NW Baker Creek and NW Hill Road meet, and it’s still a favorite spot for locals to pick up the best seasonal produce in an informal farmstand. The Draper family focuses almost exclusively on heirloom varieties of produce, some of which are the rarest varieties in the world.  Draper’s has some of the best prices around, and, at last check, you could create a full meal with the produce available there. On the corner, note the Shadden House, built in 1856 and one of the oldest structures in Yamhill County. 

11105 SW Baker Creek Road

Illustration of writer, Emily Grosvenor

Emily Grosvenor is the Editor of Oregon Home magazine and author of the forthcoming book Find Yourself at Home.