As the leaves begin to change color and the days become shorter in the Central Valley, harvesters are hard at work to bring us those perfect pumpkins just in time for the fall season.
Modesto’s Dutch Hollow Farms has been a top destination in the 209 for produce, flowers, Christmas trees and overall family fun since opening its doors in 2006.
“It used to be called ‘Pumpkin World’ when we first opened in 2006, but we changed it to Dutch Hollow Farms the following year,” owner and farmer John Bos explained. “My parents immigrated to California in 1960 from the Netherlands. We moved from Southern California to Modesto in 1982, when I was 11 years old. My parents had a dairy farm. I followed in my father’s footsteps and began working as a dairyman.”
In 2005 Bos and his best friend ventured into produce and other specialties.
“Just on a whim, my mom said that we should try farming. And in 2005 my best friend and I grew and sold prize-winning pumpkins. The pumpkins weighed on average 100 to 150 pounds each. We decided that was the road to take. So when this property became available; we turned it into a premier pumpkin patch,” Bos said.
Appropriately named ‘Pumpkin World’ for their large variety of pumpkins, Bos and company changed the name to Dutch Hollow Farms to better describe the business.
“We believed we had more to offer than just pumpkins in the fall. We began to grow tulips, strawberries, watermelons and other produce throughout the year. So having said that, we have opened year round to serve the public, even schools come on field trips to get educated about where their food comes from,” Bos said. “The kids always have a funny reaction when I tell them their food just does not come from the store, that this is where it starts out at — in the fields.”
The 10-year anniversary of Dutch Hollow Farms has been big, and this October the tradition will continue, as Bos has been working hard on his land that includes the popular U-Pick Pumpkin Patch. Families can have the experience of walking through the field and picking out that special pumpkin. Bos supplies a pair of pruning shears to cut desired jack o’ lanterns right off the vine. The pumpkins grow up to 150 pounds, and Bos offers approximately 40,000 pumpkins in total.
“It’s great to see the kids light up with excitement. They enjoy walking around the patch and looking at the different varieties of pumpkins that we offer. We have the mini pumpkins all the way to the giant carving jack o’ lanterns,” Bos said with excitement.
Another popular feature for Halloween will be this year’s giant corn maze. The unique corn maze will feature the National Basketball Association’s Golden State Warriors players Steph Curry and Kevin Durant.
“It’s awesome; we went with a company who comes all the way from Idaho who designs corn mazes. They only do 110 mazes across the United States each year. We have been fortunate enough to be selected this year,” Bos explained. “They came out to look at the land recently and gave us the okay. We decided to do a Curry and Durant design, nowhere else is doing this. You might see other corn mazes but not of this magnitude. A few years ago that company made a Chris Kyle American Sniper corn maze that got a lot of buzz and praise.
“The Valley loves the Warriors and what better way to celebrate the start of the season than to go through an amazing corn maze that stretches (across) 10 acres. It is three mazes in one. The bottom of the maze spells out Dub Nation and that is for the younger kids. Each maze will have games inside too.”
Also being offered during the festivities will be hay rides, photo stations and more surprises.
Bos stays busy year-round with his tulips and produce. In January Bos picks his tulips out of the ground and they can be sold from Valentine’s Day to April. Strawberries are fresh U-Pick and are available in the early portion of spring and are a popular staple at Dutch Hollow Farms. He also offers a petting zoo throughout the spring. Pumpkins begin to plant in July and are ready by October. Tulips are planted the day after Thanksgiving and are ready by January.
Dutch Hollow Farms is at 5101 Oakdale Road, Modesto, and is open seven days a week. For more information call (209) 541-7448.