Golden hour at Lane Farms’ pumpkin patch is a remarkable sight. The sound of a distant tractor rumbling gently fills the air, harmonious with the familiar squeals of children running around, trying to find the largest pumpkins their small, chubby arms can hold. Look everywhere – anywhere – and you can spot parents taking photographs to document their child’s first upcoming Halloween as well as first-year college students snapping selfies to remember their first autumn away from home.
Located on 308 S. Walnut Lane in Goleta, Lane Farms has been a local vendor of fresh produce to Santa Barbara’s citizens for just shy of 150 years. Although visited by content locals year-round, fall is a highly anticipated season as doors for the pumpkin patch finally open.
Doors open daily from 9 a.m. through 9 p.m. beginning the last Friday of September until Oct. 30, and the season is wrapped up on Halloween from 9 a.m. through 5 p.m.
For John Lane, the owner of Lane Farms himself, hosting the local pumpkin patch has proven to be both enjoyable and beneficial, hinting that opening to the public wasn’t a difficult decision. “We started the patch in ’74,” he shares, “We were farming, and I grew pumpkins… so we decided to open a pumpkin patch!”
While October is a profitable for the farmers who watch their abundance of pumpkins dwindle to a scattering across the field, visitors stop by for a pleasant, enjoyable experience.
Erin Morgan, fourth year Ph.D student at the University of California at Santa Barbara, takes photos with friends, sitting on haystacks and beaming with pumpkins on their laps. Morgan expresses that Lane Farm’s corn maze is the best part of the experience.
“It’s surprisingly hard,” she confessed, but recommended students visit. “I think it’s worth it to get out of the town and do something fun and different. It’s cheap and doesn’t cost any money to come for the day!”
While Morgan has never visited another pumpkin patch, many declare Lane Farms’ claim of being one-of-a-kind to be tested and true.
Afshan Khan, a mother of two and Santa Barbara local, has made visiting Lane Farms’ pumpkin patch an annual tradition for her family. Hitting the five year mark, Khan said, “I like [the patch] because it feels more authentic. It gives you a real feel of a real farm. As much as we like the other places, they have many interactive rides and such that just aren’t traditional and natural.”
From the positive reviews of both first timers and those who have been visiting the pumpkin patch for years, it is evident that workers of Lane Farms have not failed to maintain the farm’s morals of homey simplicity and authenticity that drew in visitors more than four decades ago.
Inexpensive and just a few miles away from campus, Lane Farms’ pumpkin patch is perfect for students interested in buying a pumpkin, taking photos with friends, shopping for fresh, local produce or just leaving campus for a short, fun time. You won’t want to miss it.