When my wife and I woke up to a late fall Sunday in Oregon that for once lived up to its name, we decided it’d be a great time to visit Sauvie Island. The island has been a bountiful source for food since the Multnomah Indians populated it prior to the 19th century. Today, there are several farms on the island, some of which offer u-pick, have stands, or even supply local restaurants. Leading up to Halloween, a few of the farms have pumpkin patches and activities built around them. We decided to go to the two biggest, The Pumpkin Patch and Kruger’s.
The Pumpkin Patch
The Pumpkin Patch has several activities, including: a corn maze, animal barn, corn cannon, cow train, hay rides, and, of course, the pumpkin patch. The corn maze was in the shape of Sacagawea, not that you can tell when you’re in it. But it’s kind of cool, and they have a photograph of it from the air. The animal barn had a llama, goat, sheep, pheasants, and bees. They had sugar cane for the kids to feed the goats. The corn cannonThe cow train had one of the largest lines and was a very clever idea. They had converted 50 gallon drums to cars painted like Holsteins and pulled them behind a four-wheeler. The kids looked like they were having a blast. The hay rides were free and took you out to the pumpkin patch. The extensive patch has a variety of pumpkins both by color and size.
Additionally, they have a market and a gift shop. The market has a full line of produce, plus jams, jellies, and honies. A lot of the produce is obviously purchased to fill out the choices, but items like the corn and squash were cheap and fresh. The gift shop was rather forgettable, unless you want a John Deere toy or a tuque that says “Pumpkin Patch” on it.
The food was a bit disappointing. They have a “cafe” with hamburgers and the like. They also have freshly made elephant ears, corn on the cob, and caramel apples.
Kruger’s, while smaller, shares many of the same activities: a corn maze, an animal barn, hay rides, and a pumpkin patch. They also have a petting zoo (or petting cage, you might say) and pony rides. The petting zoo had bunnies, a baby pig, a ram, and a llama (it must be an Oregon farm prerequisite).
The food was of similar quality to The Pumpkin Patch. They had a grill serving up the typical burgers and hot dogs, plus corn on the cob. They did have a lady making tiny little fresh doughnuts tossed with cinnamon sugar. They also had pumpkin and apple pie and caramel apples. The addition of pumpkin and apple pie was nice.
For a family outing, Sauvie Island’s pumpkin patches offer cheap fun. For a couple of adults like me and my wife, it was okay. We got to get a couple pumpkins, eat a caramel apple, and taste some freshly made doughnuts. But it’d be great with kids. I do wish they’d try a little harder with the food. I’d especially like to see more baked goods — pies, cobblers, tarts, muffins — using their produce. I’d also like to see some effort to make the non-desserts include the produce.