Melissa Anderson had the run of the pumpkin patch at Aldor Acres farm when she was little.
“I was carving pumpkins when I was like, just a couple of feet off the ground,” Anderson recalled.
“People would wonder who that kid with knife was and there’s no parents around.”
Now, a grown-up Anderson runs the farm that her grandparents started more than 30 years ago.
“One of my main jobs is unclogging toilets, so I’ve really evolved,” Melissa laughed.
For the last 31 years, the farm at 24990 84 Ave. has been a Halloween destination for families, who wander through the pumpkin patch to hand-pick a perfect holiday decoration.
There are 20 acres of pumpkin patches and five acres of petting zoos and animal display
Dorothy Anderson, who founded the farm with her husband Albert (Aldor is a combination of their first names), remains an active presence, driving a golf cart with a whimsical John Deere logo on the front.
This year, thanks to unusually wet weather, “pumpkins are smaller and we have a lot of rot,” Dorothy explained.
That hasn’t discouraged thousand of people from paying the farm a visit.
Dorothy said about 2,000 to 2,500 will visit the farm when the weather is grey and damp, a number that doubles when it is sunny.
Many of the visitors are regulars that Dorothy remembers, “and now, they have grandchildren.”
READ MORE: VIDEO: Aldor Acres celebrates 30 years
When the Andersons started growing pumpkins back in 1988, they put up a sign and a jar at the end of the road and sold the plants on the honour system.
Then, a local school teacher asked if she could bring her class by for a visit, to see a working farm up close.
After that, Dorothy wrote and distributed a newsletter to let people know there was a place they could go to see where their food comes fro0m, a real working farm.
There has been considerable expansion since then.
Aldor hired about 70 people this year to help handle the torrent of visitors.
Among the attractions are a chance to get close to farm animals, like Zeus, a gigantic Chiannina steer, who placidly permits children to brush his back in his stable.
There are many smaller critters, too, including rabbits and pigs and goats.
Aldor Acres offers tractor-drawn hayrides out to the pumpkin patch
Over the years, the family has earned a reputation for generosity, donating time, services, and funds to non-profit organizations such as the Special Olympics, Langley Child Development Centre, the Langley School District bursaries program and the Walnut Grove firefighters Santa Clause parade, to name a few.
Aldor Acres pumpkin path is open until Oct. 31 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Admission ranges for $9 for “anyone of walking age” to $42 family passes.
More information about the farm can be found online at https://aldoracresfamilyfarm.ca.