POULSBO — Like a proud parent, Pam McNeil recalls the children who visit her farm with wide smiles and fond memories.
Like the little boy who used to visit most warm days just to play fetch with her three dogs.
Or the toddlers who cared more about following Buster the cat around the yard than they did about finding pumpkins.
Or about the little girl and her grandpa who were out in the pumpkin patch with flashlights late one night looking for “The Great Pumpkin.”
“It’s hard work, but the fun part is to sit back and watch how much fun they have,” McNeil said of running Scandia Farm and Garden, which is now offering pumpkins for its sixth season.
The roadside produce stand offers fruits, veggies, preserves, salsa, eggs and many other farm-fresh treats year round. It’s generally open between 9 a.m. and dusk, although operating hours are somewhat of a misnomer for the stand, which is run on the honor system. People pick out what they want to take home with them and, if there is no one manning the stand, pay for it by depositing money in a locked cash box kept on site. McNeil said she’s always run the business this way and she’s never had problems.
“It’s just basically honest people we deal with down here, I guess,” she explained.
During pumpkin season, farm-goers can choose larger pumpkins from the mounds of locally-grown gourds, or find smaller pumpkins in the farm’s sunflower patch. McNeil said kids of all ages enjoy walking among the gardens and coming across just the right canvas for the perfect jack-o-lantern. When McNeil is around, she’s always up for letting young visitors feed her chickens, but the farm’s cat and three dog usually come out to greet visitors with or without their master. McNeil said many people find the farm’s atmosphere relaxing, and parents feel safe letting their kids explore the small garden unfettered.
“People can kind of come and go as they please here,” she said. “We even have families come and picnic on our lawn.”
Fall offerings also include Wenatchee-grown Cameo apples, gourds, squash, corn stalks, candy and refreshments.
Besides offering a unique harvest-time experience for young and old, McNeil said she feels that Scandia Farm Gardens helps to preserve an almost 40-year pumpkin patch legacy in the valley. When McNeil and her family decided to plant a small garden and offer a neighborhood produce stand in 1995, they found help in Dwight and Pauleen Droz.
The Droz were the owners of Scandia Patch, a local farm that operated from 1967 to 1996 and was particularly known for its annual pumpkin patch. During Scandia Farm Garden’s first season, Dwight Droz offered to till the soil and offered the suggestion to plant pumpkins. Today, most of the garden’s pumpkins are grown on the Droz farm down the road and Dwight Droz lends many a helping hand for the pumpkin harvest.
“Dwight plows and he weeds all of our pumpkins, which is just a blessing because I hate to weed,” McNeil said.
McNeil added that many people still ask about the couple who owned the “pumpkin patch on the corner,” and are delighted they still have a hand in the fall tradition.
“I get a lot of people coming in and saying they came here as a kid and now they’re bringing their own children here,” she said.
Scandia Farm Gardens
16326 Scandia, Poulsbo
Open 9 a.m. to dusk daily