With Halloween quickly approaching, families are making their annual trips to local pumpkin patches on a quest for the perfectly carve-able gourd. Terry’s Berries, a diversified organic berry and produce farm on the outskirts of Tacoma in Puyallup Valley, is one of these popular October destinations. Terry and Dick Carkner have been diligently farming their 20 acres for more than 25 years and have been certified organic for almost two decades.
Before the frost is on the punkin’, the harvesting fields at Terry’s Berries invite local school children of all ages for a one-hour tour to enlighten them about what really goes on down on the farm. The exciting, educational tour begins with a fun hayride, followed by hands-on experience with the daily tasks of working on a farm like feeding chickens, harvesting apples and veggies, checking on the gobblers and goats and, finally, choosing the perfectly round, perfectly orange pumpkin straight from the patch.
“Our tours are really popular with a lot of area schools, especially preschools. We take the kids out to the field to pick apples, dig potatoes and carrots, and get their very own pumpkins. This year, our turkeys are our big highlight,” Terry Carkner said.
The recent cool temperatures may have complicated the pumpkin-growing process a bit, but with a little help from Mother Nature and the skilled farmers and wise agriculturalists on staff at Terry’s Berries, kids won’t miss their chance to get their hands on the perfect pumpkin.
“It’s been cool and wet, and we were wondering if we were even going to have any pumpkins. It’s a long-season crop, so it definitely needs sun, which we’ve had little of. We were concerned, but in the end the pumpkins are here.”
Kindergarten teacher Lisa Olsen accompanied her son Christopher and his preschool class on their gourd-gathering day at the farm. In spite of the fussy weather conditions as of late, some of the gargantuan gourds would have Charlie Brown and Linus staying up all night.
“We really had a wonderful time on our trip to the farm. The kids had an opportunity to pick a pumpkin the size of their heads. We brought our pumpkins home and used his little one for a pumpkin pie and the other one for carving,” Olsen said.
Amy Moreno-Sills, Terry’s Berries vegetables manager, looks forward to the children’s annual visits to the farm and offers a word of caution for footwear.
“This tour is really hands-on for the kids. They get to learn a great deal about where their vegetables come from. If you’re coming on a tour, we recommend you bring your boots because it can be muddy out there.”
Whether your Halloween holiday includes making a tasty pie or eerie jack-o-lantern out of your winter squash or snacking on some healthy, organic treats straight from Mother Nature, Terry’s Berries is a great choice. To learn more about the farm, visit www.terrysberries.com, or throw on your best pair of farmin’ boots and stop by at 4520 River Rd., Tacoma.
Visit www.tacomaweekly.com to see the newest “Dave & Mike Show” video report from Terry’s Berries.