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St. Helena pumpkin patch reopens for 2021

St. Helena families are once again heading to Madrona Avenue to navigate the corn maze, pet the goats and pick up a wide variety of homegrown pumpkins.

“It’s come to be something people in the community really love,” said Matteo Abreu, proprietor of the Madrona Family Farms Pumpkin Patch. “It’s mainly for families, to give them somewhere to enjoy the end of summer and early fall.”

Now in its second year, the operation is run by Abreu and his girlfriend, Lexi Mangola, but Abreu says it’s really a family affair, as the name implies.

Abreu’s father David helped every step of the way. Upper Valley Disposal Service, headed by Abreu’s mother Christy Pestoni, provided recycling bins.

There are also four volunteer employees: Elizabeth Serna, Dominic Pestoni, Sam Raunegger and Thomas Grimes.

Abreu organized the pumpkin patch in his free time when he wasn’t helping with his dad’s vineyard management business. Juggling the two jobs was more difficult this year than in 2020, when the wildfires resulted in a light harvest.

“But I’m still young and have a lot of energy,” he said with a chuckle.

The most popular pumpkins include peanut pumpkins (easily distinguished by the wart-like bumps that are actually excess sugar), the cinderellas that look like they’ve been squished horizontally, and of course the standard orange ones that make good jack-o’-lanterns.

Madrona Family Farms is open at 2366 Madrona Ave. from 4 to 7 p.m. Thursdays and Fridays and from noon to 7 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays.

A new survey of 8,000 people has revealed the top Halloween costumes of 2021 for adults, kids and pets. The most popular costumes for adults this year include classics such as witch, vampire, ghost and pirate. Superhero characters were also popular among adults, with Superman and the Joker making the top 10. Kids are also looking forward to dressing up as superheroes. Spider-Man is the most popular costume among children this year. Many kids are also planning to dress up as princesses, pumpkins or zombies. Many pet owners are planning to get their pets involved in the festivities this year. Popular pet costumes include pumpkins, hot dogs, bumblebees, lions and bats

You can reach Jesse Duarte at 967-6803 or

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