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.
You can reach Jesse Duarte at 967-6803 or firstname.lastname@example.org.