A cow surrounded by pumpkins.

October Traditions in Coupeville

Posted in Community, Culinary, Feature, History, Nature, Photography

BY DAVID STERN
Whidbey Life Magazine Contributor
October 26, 2016

Thousands of families travel to Sherman’s Pioneer Farm in Coupeville each year to carry on or start a new tradition and create happy memories. The farm, with its squash, gourds, barns, and cows helps me reconnect with a time when I spent my summers on a farm as a teenager.

Sherman’s has been farming pumpkins and squash since the 1950s, and Dale and Liz Sherman produce some of the finest squash in Washington State. The Blue Hubbard variety grown here was developed by the Sherman family and has become a staple of chefs and fine grocers around the region. Hundreds of thousands of pounds of this squash are processed and packaged on the farm to be shipped all over the state.

But that is not why most people come to visit the farm in October. Taking a trolley ride to the pumpkin patch and selecting your own jack-o-lantern is the main attraction. The Sherman family’s sense of humor is obvious when you see all their toys on the farm. Dale Sherman pulls people to and from the pumpkin patch with a larger-than-life “Tonka” tractor.

For me, traditions start when I visit a place that I simply cannot go a year without re-visiting. Sherman’s Pioneer Farm is one of those places. The brightly colored pumpkins, squash, and gourds bring happiness during a season that ushers in many dreary days. Thankfully, families like the Shermans are committed to creating a beautiful place to visit, while also working a historic local farm.

Sherman’s Pioneer Farm is open for trolley rides Friday through Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. in October. During the rest of the week, you can purchase pumpkins with cash or check by depositing your payment in the honesty box on the farm stand door.

The farm is located on Ebey’s Landing National Historic Reserve at 46. S Ebey Road. Coupeville, WA 98239.

A tractor pulling a trailer with a pile of squash in foreground.

Big Toys at Sherman’s Pioneer Farm in Coupeville.

A large bin full of green squash.

Buttercup squash is among the sweetest and creamiest of all varieties. As good as a sweet potato, and it grows on Whidbey Island.

A bin full of light green, football-shaped squash.

The Sugar Hubbard variety was developed by the Sherman family and is unique to Whidbey Island.

 A large plastic jack-o-lantern on a shipping pallet.

Larger than life pumpkins welcome visitors to Sherman’s Pioneer Farm.

A Radio Flyer wagon with "monster truck" wheels.

Big boys need big toys.

A cow surrounded by pumpkins.

Dale Sherman’s cows are always on hand to help eat the rotten pumpkins. Nothing gets wasted on the farm.

Two men on a trailer shake hands.

New friendships are made on the trolley to the pumpkin patch.

A father looks at the bottom of a pumpkin as his young son watches.

The most common method for choosing a pumpkin is making sure it will stand up straight.

A young boy carries a large pumpkin.

The perfect pumpkin has been chosen.

A tractor pulling a trailer filled with families.

Dale Sherman bringing back a full load of happy families and their new pumpkins.

David Stern is a Coupeville-based photographer and co-owner of Whidbey Custom Photography with his wife Madisun Elizabeth. David was mentored by his grandfather, a world-famous landscape photographer based in New England. David hopes to work as a photojournalist one day, traveling the world and telling stories.

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