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Bates Nut Farm
15954 Woods Valley Road,
Valley Center
(760) 749-3333

Around Halloween, Bates Nut Farm is the ultimate pumpkin-picking experience. After the $1 hayride, the busloads of kids who visit can tumble over piles of basketball-sized pumpkins, each $2.75. Then, hurry over to the large pumpkins, the Big Macs, some of which are beyond beach-ball size, to select a Big Mama, and then load it into the provided wheelbarrow. Last year, Big Macs were $.30 a pound early in the season. Ghost pumpkins, with white skin and orange inside, were $2.75 (they're better eating, Bates people say, than orange pumpkins -- sweeter). On the way to the candy-and-nut shop, stop to look at the farm's livestock. Then go into the store, with its rows of barrels filled with pecans, walnuts, and toffee.

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