Arizona · Halloween Town

Halloween Town: To the Pumpkin Patch We Go

It's the Pumpkin King, Charlie Brown!
In search of the perfect pumpkin, Jake and I set off yesterday to visit the Tolmachoff Farms Corn Maze and Pumpkin Patch in Glendale. Generally, it was a good experience, but allow me one moment of all-out angry Midwestern behavior.

It was 100 degrees yesterday. In the middle of October. While shopping for Halloween pumpkins. I’ve kept my mouth shut so far this month, but well, I kind of lost it yesterday. It’s official: I miss fall in the Midwest. Don’t hate me for it, but I do. I miss the cool, crisp temperatures. I miss wearing a sweatshirt. I miss the smell (oh, the glorious smell!) of bonfires and wet leaves after a rainstorm. And it didn’t really hit me until yesterday, while tromping through the Tolmachoff Corn Maze. I miss autumn, and it’s a palpable, empty space in my chest.

Which is probably why I spent thirty bucks at Yankee Candle this week, buying candles called “Autumn Breeze” and “Pumpkin Spice.”

Now that I’m done complaining …

Like I said, Tolmachoff Farms is in Glendale. It’s a four generation family farm, operated by Bill and Gracie Tolmachoff and their four children: Bill, Ashley, Michael, and Brooke. The farm originally grew cotton, wheat, and corn in the first part of this century. Then, Bill Senior started selling plums in the early 1970s from a roadside stand, and the rest is history. They now provide the community with fresh produce and seasonal fun—complete with a pumpkin patch and corn maze.

Cost for admission is seven bucks a head. It’s a little steep, especially when you consider you’re not really getting anything free to take home. Once inside, you have to purchase any produce (including super-yummy Pumpkin Butter) or pumpkin. You even have to pay to feed the animals at the petting zoo (who all seemed thoroughly depressed, to be honest, which was in turn depressing).

Spooky Jake in the Corn Maze.
I did have fun in the Corn Maze. It took forty-five minutes! This is predominantly what you’re paying for, and I’d never done a Corn Maze before. I did have flashbacks of David Bowie, wearing tight spandex in The Labyrinth—but that’s not necessarily a bad thing, is it? Jake was my fearless leader, and he guided us to the exit with the stellar leadership of an army general. Even though it was hotter than hell, I wallowed in the smell of fresh corn on the cob. Strangely, the scent reminded me of another season altogether—the beginning of summer in Ohio.

In conclusion, Tolmachoff Farms is pretty expensive for what you get. We didn’t even buy a pumpkin, because they were too over-priced. The Corn Maze was good fun; the petting zoo was just plain sad. The Pumpkin Butter is delicious.

Maybe my lukewarm feelings about the place weren’t really any fault of the farm itself; maybe it was my attitude that did it. Maybe yesterday I was just struggling with getting into the spirit of the season, because how does a true Midwesterner fall into fall … without a big pile of leaves to catch her?

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