In 1904, Dan and Russ Picha’s grandparents traveled from Nebraska to settle in the Puyallup Valley, and they started to farm an assortment of products, including potatoes, daffodils and rhubarb. By the 1970s, the brothers’ father branched out into all sorts of berries.
Today, Dan and Russ Picha — third-generation farmers — are carrying on the berry tradition, and they’ve introduced 15 varieties of pumpkins and gourds to their fall harvest in the past 12 years.
“We raise 20 acres of pumpkins within a mile to 1 1/2 miles of our stand,” Russ said.
Russ remembers how he and his brother, their wives and children, started a 1-acre corn maze to go along with a pumpkin patch more than a decade ago. Their children, much younger then, stood along the road and waved signs that led patrons onto the grounds.
“Now it’s blossomed into an 8-acre corn maze,” Russ said.
Throughout the years, the Pichas have added other features to their pumpkin patch, including hayrides on the weekends, antique tractors presented by the Rainier Tractor Club, a pumpkin slingshot game and an assortment of vendors who provide anything from coffee to kettle corn to hot dogs.
Russ said vendors are Housewife Hot Dogs, Feisty Gals Coffee and Great Northwest Popcorn, which sells kettle corn and made-from-scratch caramel apples. It’s the Tacoma-based store’s fourth year at the pumpkin patch.
“We can’t wait for October to begin so we can be here,” Great Northwest Popcorn co-owner Kathy Timmerman said.
Timmerman’s sister, Pat Grimes, pops fresh popcorn for the pumpkin patch each season, including two unique flavors to go with the Halloween theme: Monster’s Mash and Witch’s Brew.
Timmerman said she loves to make the caramel apples using granny smiths and her homemade caramel recipe.
The kettlecorn, sold in small and large sizes, is made in a 300-pound kettle nicknamed “the Beast.”
Timmerman said it’s a treat to work with the Picha family each year.
“You cannot ask for a nicer family,” she said.
The Pichas said they aim to make the pumpkin patch family friendly. Dogs on leashes are welcome, too.
“It’s nice to see people and their families enjoy themselves,” Dan said. “Little kids get excited about their pumpkins. We try to add something new each year.”
For 32 cents, families can walk away with pumpkins they choose.
Susan and Shane Hincks of Graham heard about Picha Farms through their friends. The couple, with their 3-year-old daughter, Lille, went to the pumpkin patch last Friday afternoon. They hoped to pick up four pumpkins after their stop at the Great Northwest Popcorn stand.
“I like all the pumpkins here and that it’s really family friendly,” Susan said.
Shane hoped to take some family pictures before they left. F.J. Hughes Studios, an on-site vendor, can take photos during visits.
The Picha Farms Pumpkin Patch will run through Oct. 31.
If You Go
• Picha Farms Pumpkin Patch is open from 3 to 6 p.m. weekdays and from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on weekends. The farm is located at 6502 52nd St. E. in Puyallup.
• Spooner Farms Pumpkin Patch is open from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily at 9710 state Route 162 East. Both farms are open through Oct. 31.