Shaelia Oritz, 2, held on tight to her pumpkin as she strolled through a pumpkin patch at Swank Farms in Hollister. The pumpkin patch is open until Nov. 1. (Juan Reyes)

The time to go hunting for that perfect pumpkin is slowly running out and Swank Farms is one of the few places in San Benito County to still get the season’s favorite squash just in time for Halloween. 

The pumpkin patch, at 4751 Pacheco Highway, is still fully stocked with orange, green, white and tiger striped pumpkins to help add another spooky decoration to any home.    

Bonnie Swank, owner of Swank Farms, said the farm also offers puzzles to do in the cornfields. The sunflower field is a popular area for visitors, as well.  

“Families are just happy to come out and have something to do,” Swank said. “I don’t think too many of them miss the maze that much. They can still walk through the cornfield and walk through the sunflowers.”

The Trail of Lights and Field of Frights, which was added to the farm last year, is a big hit among the guests. The journey begins with a walk through a path with trees on each side, decorated with lights and accompanied by scary inflatable monsters. The path then continues into a corn field packed with plenty of frightful moments and scenes taken straight from a horror flick.

“But nothing like it used to be, no chasing with chainsaws and stuff like that,” Swank said. “It’s all family fun.”

Swank said they’re taking all the precautionary steps when it comes to sanitizing tables and the wheelbarrows that carry the pumpkins. They also provided hand sanitizing stations and wash stations throughout the park.

Guests are required to wear facial coverings but there are exceptions for children 2 years old and younger and those with certain medical conditions listed in the state’s Covid-19 face covering guidance. Swank said that people have done a good job of wearing their masks and social distancing, so far.  

Swank also mentioned that it took up until the last minute to get the green light to open the farm. She admitted it was a rough start, especially with all of the county public health guidelines in place.  

Swank said she had no clue what direction the Covid-19 guidelines were going in. So, they planned for an alternative since they didn’t see an end to the pandemic in sight.  

Swank said it’s a year long process to plan for the pumpkin patch but they couldn’t wait until September to find out if they were going to have one or not. She planted the seeds for pumpkins, sunflowers and corn just in case that way they can have some stock on hand. 

“This is our livelihood,” she said. “We just moved forward and it was what we had to do.”

Swank Farms is open on Thursday from 10am to 6pm and Friday through Sunday from 10am to 10pm.

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