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Pumpkin hunting

Otober is the humblest of all months. You would hardly even notice it if it weren't for Halloween.

For most people, the costume holiday brings with it candy, kids coming to the door and pumpkins.

Right now is the time to get pumpkins.

If you've never been to a pumpkin patch before, this is your year. Pheasant Fields Farm in Phoenix boasts hayrides, a maze and concession stands, while the less-glittery Pierson's Pumpkin Patch in Ashland has the basics: golden gourds that range in size from your fist to your car wheel.

Pumpkin patches are a perfect place to get in touch with your inner farmer. Visit one once and you'll be tempted to pick up a rake and start your own crop.

Some of the best spots in the valley:

  • Pierson's Pumpkin Patch, 1807 E. Main St., Ashland, 541-488-0307: This hay farm has uniquely colored pumpkins, from ghostly white to electric orange and bluish green. Open 3 p.m. to dark Monday through Friday and 9 a.m. to dark Saturdays and Sundays through Oct. 31.
  • Pheasant Fields Farm, 1865 Camp Baker Road, Phoenix, 541-535-3873: This huge, you-pick pumpkin patch also has a 21/2;-acre corn maze, pony rides, concession stands and a pear-shooting gallery. Open daily from noon to 5 p.m. through Oct. 30. The Harvest Festival, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, ends this weekend.
  • Seven Oaks Farm, 5504 Rogue Valley Highway, Central Point, 541-664-2060: Younger kids will enjoy the wagon and pony rides, face-painting, maze and cookie decorating. Open 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays through Oct. 31.
  • Fort Vannoy Farms, 5791 Lower River Road, Grants Pass, 541-479-3765: Two zip lines, an 8-acre corn maze and a pumpkin cannon can entertain the entire family. Open 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays through Oct. 28.

Amelia Covert Zeve, 13, is an Ashland-based writer and wilderness enthusiast who attends Ashland Middle School. Contact her at ameliacovertzeve@gmail.com.