The frost is well and truly on the pumpkin, at least it is at the Sturdy's North Arm Farm just outside of Pemberton at the foot of even frostier Mount Currie.
But if you head up in the next while to pick out your own golden globe, good chance you'll be as amazed as I was at the selection of other farm-fresh veggies that can be had alongside the pumpkin picking. All this in light of Whistler Farmers' Market already shuttered for the season, although the good news is Vancouver's Winter Farmers' Market will launch November 3 in the Nat Bailey Stadium parking lot.
Other than dressing up as your real inner self, one of the most fun things about Halloween is picking out your own pumpkin. North Arm has more than 4,000 plants and a bunch of varieties, including New England sugar pumpkins (a little tough to carve but the absolute best for making pies) as well as ones better suited to the lantern side of things, like Racer, Rock Star (tall and skinny), and Polar Bear (big, round and white). The bottom line is you're bound to find one or a half dozen full of character that suit you and the kids to a "T".
You won't have to haul your pay-by-the-pound pumpkin back to the barn to get it weighed as you can take a horse drawn wagon through the patch and back. And if you need to warm up, cozy up to the fire pit before heading back into the barn for a bowl of The Pony's crazy-good chili or whatever's on offer and checking out the beautiful fresh farm veggies.
The story I love most about North Arm Farm is how Jordan and Trish bought it in the first place.
Jordan first moved to the area in 1989 to take a job as a pro ski patroller on Blackcomb; his wife, Trish, eventually moved up and worked at Blackcomb, too. But when they started looking around for a permanent home together they discovered that a 55-acre farm — the one they eventually bought — complete with a mobile home, which Jordan had been renting, a barn, a cabin and a tractor cost the same as an old 1960s Gothic arch in Emerald Estates at Whistler.
"It just seemed like a better deal," Jordan says.
The original plan was to do direct farm sales after a neighbour, who sold his farm and bought a Winnebago, came by to talk to Jordan.
"I should have paid a little more attention to him, but he said, I've never had a holiday in the summer in my whole life and so the wife and I are taking the Winnebago and driving to Newfoundland — that was the one piece I did miss," Jordan says.
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