Hortons continue farming tradition in Loomis

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The Horton Farm Family Pumpkin Patch has been growing pumpkins for four years at the century-old family farm. Doug Horton, with the help of his wife, Jennifer, and daughter, Majken, planted the pumpkin seeds in July then tended and watered them all summer. Doug’s parents, Mary Ann and Ed Horton, also help with the watering and maintenance of the farm. “For the first two years we sold our pumpkins from our tractor and trailer by the entrance of the farm,” said Doug Horton, manager of the pumpkin patch, “but now the farm is open to the public. We invite families and individuals to come out to the pumpkin patch, pick and cut your pumpkin right from the vine, or you can choose from a selection of pumpkins from our harvest tent.” The Horton Farm has picnic tables, hay rides, a collection of Banty chickens for viewing and feeding. The Harvest Tent, filled with hay bales and pumpkins, is perfect for fall photos. For those looking for cooking pumpkins, Jennifer Horton recommends the Cinderella’s, an heirloom French variety. “Just the other day I walked out to the pumpkin patch, snapped a Cinderella pumpkin from the vine, and brought it into my kitchen. I quartered the pumpkin, baked it until soft, and then scooped all the pulp off the shell. I then pureed the pumpkin and used it to bake pumpkin bread and make pumpkin soup,” she said. The seeds can also be salted and baked until crispy, the perfect fall snack, Jennifer Horton said. Doug or Jennifer will be happy to give you a hay ride in the original farm trailer towed by the 1950 Ford 8-N tractor. And Majken Horton is always eager to tell visitors all about her 30 chickens, including their names, varieties, and personal histories. When asked what’s the best part about The Horton Farm Family Pumpkin Patch, Doug replied, “We’re local! We are your friendly neighborhood pumpkin patch.” Horton pumpkins range in size, shape and color. Carving pumpkins range in price from $20 to $2. Decorative mini and cooking pumpkins are also available. Horton Farm is open weekends from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. It is also open mid-week by appointment for preschools, moms groups, birthday parties and individuals. The pumpkin patch number is 916-239-9432. Plenty of parking is available on the farm grounds.