One thing I knew I wanted to experience when I moved to North America was a pumpkin patch! Although pumpkin patches are becoming more popular back in Ireland, I only ever bought a pumpkin from the local grocery store growing up. So for this week’s post I’ll be telling you all about a local gem: Richmond Country Farms.
Richmond Country Farms is located on the unceded and ancestral territory of the Coast Salish people, and in particular the xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam) people have called this area home for centuries. The farm is family owned, and along with their seasonal attractions such as the aforementioned pumpkin patch, they also host a beautiful farm-to-table style market offering seasonal fruits and vegetables. And a winery!
For this post, I’ll take you through the steps I took to visit the farm using public transit. By now, if you’ve been following along, you’ll know I don’t drive and that I’m based in Vancouver; my starting point for this trip.
This is a relatively easy journey. It can be accomplished as a full-day excursion if you want to utilize all their amenities, or it can be checked off your list in a morning or afternoon.
The first thing you need to do is make your way to Bridgeport Station in Richmond. This can be done via the Canada Line Skytrain. The Skytrain is about 15-20 minutes depending on your entry point. Then at Bridgeport, transfer to the 351, 601 (any in the southbound direction), or 620 bus. You’re going to exit the bus at Southbound Hwy 99 Offramp @ Steveston Hwy, then make your way across the Steveston Highway via the footpath on the bridge. Do not attempt to run across Highway 99! And that’s it, you’ll have reached the farm. This journey can take between 45 minutes to an hour depending on your starting point.
Richmond Country Farms
In my introduction, I mentioned that Richmond Country Farms has a plethora of attractions and charming aspects to enjoy. Despite my desire to head to a pumpkin patch, I actually visited Richmond Country Farms for their sunflower festival during the summer months before ever heading there for a pumpkin!
Their sunflower festival runs for about a month, and they usually start the season at the end of July, or early August. You can expect to wander through vast sections of the farm, taking in different varieties of sunflowers, and dahlias, while also basking in the beauty of some stunning wildflowers.
They provide plenty of staged areas for ‘photo ops’ throughout the flowers as well, from farm equipment, to cars and bicycles, to a swing chair… and more! If you’re needing to cool down or enjoy a beverage or snack, they have vendors providing this at the entrance, and I believe they have even added a yoga class on Thursday evenings for 2021. There’s so much to explore, and it’s a something a little different guaranteeing a great day out.
Tickets can be purchased in advance online, and prices vary depending on weekday or weekend admission. You also benefit from a discount if purchased online, so I’d recommend picking a date and time in advance and availing of this added bonus. But even without that, it is a reasonably priced attraction with prices not exceeding CAD 20.
When we visited the sunflower festival, we took advantage of another one of the farm’s fares: their wine tasting room offered by Country Vines Winery. Country Vines Winery is open seasonally, and the tasting room can be enjoyed without ever stepping foot in the sunflower festival or pumpkin patch! So if you’re wanting to take advantage of a winery, accessible via transit, look no further than the one on offer at Richmond Country Farms. They have a beautiful patio that you can enjoy, and are open to guests bringing their own food to nibble on. You can buy a bottle in the store, and sip the day away in a beautiful setting. Highly recommend this leisurely activity.
While I have enjoyed visiting the farm for the sunflower festival, the real highlight for me has been the pumpkin patch (no surprise). I’ve always loved Halloween because of its connection to some of my Celtic heritage. Samhain was the traditional festival celebrated in Ireland, and it is the basis for current-day Halloween. In the past, Celts would carve jack-o-lanterns from turnips or gourds then over the years, with Irish people immigrating to the United States of America, a natural progression occurred. America’s homegrown pumpkin became the item of choice for carving, and has been a staple of Halloween for years.
A lot of pumpkin patches around the Lower Mainland can only be accessed with a vehicle, so I was thrilled when I found out about Richmond Country Farms because I don’t drive. The farm’s pumpkin patch opens for the month of October. Their website isn’t currently displaying the pumpkin patch information as I write this, but keep an eye on their overall website leading up to the season.
In a similar fashion to the sunflower festival, they offer fields of pumpkins for you to choose from, set against a backdrop of festive autumnal décor.
There are some areas for photo opportunities spread throughout as well. They also provide tractor-drawn wagon rides, vendors for food and drink at the entrance, and you might also spy some friendly goats. It can be a fun day out for both kids, and adults!
A pumpkin is included in your admission, so choose wisely! And remember you are travelling via transit so maybe opt for a slightly smaller one. They provide a plastic bag for you to carry your prized pick, but you can always bring a tote bag too for easy transport. If desired, you can purchase a second or third pumpkin during your visit. Overall, you can anticipate paying no more that CAD 20 depending when you visit; as with the sunflower festival, prices differ on weekdays and weekends. Then all you need is some carving tools, and you’re all set!
Some Final Tips From Me:
- If you’re heading to the sunflower festival, avoid going in exceptionally hot weather. We went during a slight heatwave and it was difficult to find some shaded spots when we were out enjoying the sunflowers.
- Bring a tote bag for easily transporting your pumpkin.
- Dress appropriately during pumpkin season. Wear wellies or gum boots; it can get muddy!
- Don’t forget to stop by their farmer’s market on your way out for some seasonal, local produce.
- If you’re using your Compass card, make sure you have enough fare loaded to complete the journey. Or else you’ll need exact change for the bus.
Thank you so much for reading. All photographs and opinions are my own. I have not been sponsored by any business mentioned in this post. Please do let me know if I have fact-checked anything incorrectly, I’m always open to feedback and corrections.