A sea of orange pumpkins sat in hot and hazy conditions on Sunday as hundreds of visitors took to the Carpinito Brothers Farm Pumpkin Patch in the Kent Valley — a fall tradition for residents near and far.
Sleeveless shirts and shorts made their October debut as temperatures hovered around 80 degrees over the Oct. 14-16 weekend. Wildfire smoke from several burning blazes in the North Cascade mountains wafted over the farm, but didn’t deter those searching for the perfect pumpkin.
“I was worried people weren’t kicked into fall mode yet, but … they’re enjoying 85 degree weather,” said Chris Carpinito, whose father Dan Carpinito founded the business with his brother Mike Carpinito in 1972. For over 50 years, the Carpinito family-owned and -operated business has called the Kent Valley home.
The corner plot along West Valley Highway North and South 277th Street features various pumpkin varieties, a newly designed corn maze each year and a Farm Fun Yard with animals, hay slides, a corn pit and more.
“We’ve always based this whole operation on our pumpkin patch and our corn maze,” Chris Carpinito said. “Those are the two biggest things we have every year.”
The corn maze features a new design each year. A general theme is brewed up by the Carpinito family members, then a design company uses a GPS-driven tractor to plant the corn seeds in the maze route. This year’s configuration is Aliens and Spaceship themed.
This year, the farm hosted a giant pumpkin “weigh-off” on Oct. 2. Drawing crowds and competitors around the northwest, the event offered cash prizes for the largest pumpkin with a $6,000 grand prize. The winner? A 1,989.5-pound pumpkin grown by Cindy Tobeck in Olympia.
The prize-winning pumpkins are on display at the Carpinito Brothers Farms, along with gourds, squash and pumpkins of all colors, shapes and sizes for your choosing.
The wet spring earlier this year was problematic, Chris Carpinito said, and many crops were planted late. With the warmer temperatures over summer and into fall, the crops began to ripen. The farmland consists of approximately 800 acres of hand-harvested vegetables.
“It started off bad, then [the warm weather] helped out later on,” he said. “Frost is what really bothers pumpkins … So yes, it’s unseasonably warm, but the sun is great.”
The family puts effort into “making it a little bigger, a little better each year,” Chris Carpinito said of the pumpkin patch. Last year, the company was named one of the best pumpkin patches in America by Yelp.
“Everybody’s happy, everybody’s smiling,” Chris Carpinito said of the fall festivities. “We appreciate the fact people want to have their family outings here and [our] family works hard to make it a tradition for people from all over western Washington.”
The pumpkin patch and corn maze is open daily from 9 a.m. to dusk at 27508 West Valley Hwy N. in Kent.