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Autumn’s glorious harvest means family fun

Zoe Williams and Ian Whitney pick out the perfect Halloween pumpkin at Sunrise Hill Farm. - Kelly Joines/Staff photo
Zoe Williams and Ian Whitney pick out the perfect Halloween pumpkin at Sunrise Hill Farm.
— image credit: Kelly Joines/Staff photo

Corn mazes, pumpkin patches gear up for fall.

KINGSTON — At 6 p.m. Friday, a soft, October light lingers on the hay bales and cornstalks on Kingston’s 23-acre Sunrise Hill Farm. Twelve-foot tall sunflowers tower above the oranges and reds bursting from dahlias, zinnias and Japanese lanterns. With prolonged summer heat and a blue-bird sky, the Cascade Mountains are in full view.

Sunrise Hill Farm, located on 11033 NE Tulin Road, just off South Kingston Road, is set to be the center of all things harvest for October.

Corn maze wanderings, perfect pumpkin picking, live local music, outdoor movies and a pumpkin-carving contest are all set to take place this month.

On weekend evenings children tug their parents’ sleeves urging them to walk faster from the parking lot field to their friends playing in the hay maze.

While their kids play, parents gather on top of the hill at the Farm’s snack shack, munching on some crunchy mud, aka Fritos corn chips topped with homemade chili, or the Farmer Duff Special: an old-fashioned hot dog, chips and Mexican Coke - made with real cane sugar — for $5.

Flashlights in hand, some families await sundown to enter the farm’s two-acre corn maze, known for its promised 40 minutes of tricks, turns and dead-ends.

The Flashlight Maze Madness is one of a kind in Kingston and one of the many ideas for public enjoyment conjured by husband and wife team Farmer Kim Farmer Duff Williams.

Those trying to get into their fall spirit of the harvest season need not go further than Sunrise Hill Farm. It’s got the aroma of fresh gravenstein apples, pumpkins and hay bails. It’s got the venue of 23 acres of farm country, including a gigantic corn maze and a barn full of hay for kids to jump in. And, it’s even got the eats. Besides the crunchy mud and old-fashioned hot dogs, the snack shack caters to those in need of campfire-made s’mores. Farmer Duff even provides the campfire and marshmallow stick to make them on.

After five years of internalizing the concept for a full harvest get-out, Farmer Chris aka “Grandma” Plummer said “it’s time.”

Plummer, who’s owned the farm for 30 years, said the farm has garnered quite a few smiles in the community.

“It’s really beautiful to watch the families have fun,” she said. “Everyone who comes out says they have farm roots. They’ll say their grandpa owned 100 acres in Illinois and it’s just nice that coming out here reminds them of that — their roots.”

The farm, is open 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesdays, Thursdays and Sundays through October. On Friday and Saturdays the farm’s hours are 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. for Flashlight Maze Madness. Maze admission is $5 for adults and $3 for kids ages 6- to 11-years-old. Kids younger than 5 get in the maze for free.

For a schedule of events go to www.sunrisehillfarm.org.

Scandia Valley Farms in Poulsbo is offering its share of agri-entertainment to North Enders this season. Tours of the historic farm, a corn maze and pumpkin patch are all on the docket.

“The farm tour consists of an explanation of what life was like back in 1904 when the house was built,” said Mary Lou Jensen, who runs the farm with her husband of 57 years, Ken. “I try to take kids back in time.”

The tour tells of a time when telephones and plumbing weren’t at the ready; even cars were scarce, she said.

“Life was totally different.”

Ken Jensen — better known to kids and visitors as Farmer Jensen — tells the story of how a pumpkin grows in the Pumpkin Theater, a merry straw bale and woodpile creation. Kids are also invited to see and feed farm animals.

Mary Lou Jensen said the entire farm is festooned in cheerful harvest decor. Both small and large pumpkins (one was pulled from the field at 50 pounds, she reported) are for sale, ready to be spotted and claimed in the patch. Squash, beans and corn are also available.

Scandia Valley Farm — located at 16624 Scandia Road — will be open this year through Oct. 31. The farm is closed on Sundays. For more information, hours of operation or to call for tour times, visit www.scandiavalleyfarm.com or call (360) 779-3353.

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