by Carmel L. Mooney
When I first started taking my oldest daughter Laura to Bishop’s Pumpkin Farm seventeen years ago, I had no idea I’d be starting a family tradition that has continued to create and grow fun and memories even now with my youngest daughter Elizabeth and all our other kids in between.
Most Sacramento area residents have heard of Bishop’s and fun-loving ones make it a tradition every autumn to take a short road trip out to Wheatland, California for hayrides, apple pies, train rides, and a petting zoo, and just good old family country-style fun.
My youngest kids get a kick out of looking at the new piglets just like Laura did when she was little, and the apple pie is still just as scrumptious as it was years ago. Mrs. Bishop knows what she is doing in the kitchen.
While a lot at Bishop’s has changed over the years since I first took Laura (I can still see her in her cute little dark blue flowered Osh Kosh B’Gosh outfit sitting on the hay wagon for her very first hayride, her little wispy blonde baby hairs blowing in the fall breeze)… so much is still the same there.
Sure, there’s a new corn maze and Coyote Mountain. They even have barbecues and parades now that they didn’t have back then. But the same hospitality, great food, and fun and safe environment call to our family every autumn for at least one visit.
My youngest daughter Elizabeth, now growing fast, still loves the pumpkin patch and great food and gift shops. And my tween still thinks it’s cool.
I’m surprised every year we visit Bishop’s, how what once was just a small group of local moms from nearby Beale Air Force Base and the little farming town of Wheatland, has grown to moms and kids and families visiting from over a hundred miles in all directions.
One of my most prized possessions is my Bishop’s Pumpkin Farm Cookbook that I bought with Laura and her Nana Sharron when visiting many years ago during one of our annual visits. It’s chock full of the best holiday recipes you will ever find and although I have dozens of expensive cookbooks, it’s by far my favorite for the quality of the recipes and for the memories of Bishop’s that I can recreate every season thanks to that book.
Bishop’s has been harvesting memories for nearly 40 years now. Admission is free in September and October and parking is free on the weekends.
Carmel L. Mooney is a travel columnist and the editor of Road Trips for Couples.