Farming isn't Jimmy Dutra's day job, but for one month in the fall, the Watsonville Realtor is the Jimmy of Jimmy's Pumpkins.
The East Lake Avenue pumpkin patch is Dutra's effort to bring kids a little closer to the farms that are the heart of the Pajaro Valley. He opened the stand—across from the county fairgrounds—last fall.
"I thought, why not? We're a farming community and there's nothing like this here," Dutra said. "I just figured it was something that was good for the community, too."
Dutra wanted a place for kids to get their hands dirty and enjoy the fall harvest season.
School groups take field trips to the pumpkin stand and last year's customers send in photos of their jack-o-lantern creations. Families can pull a red Radio Flyer wagon through the patch to load up their Halloween decor. Dutra added a bean bag toss, a jack-o-lantern photo op and a coloring station to keep kids busy.
"For kids, it's their wonderland," Dutra said.
The gourds are arranged in neat rows by size and price; skull-sized orbs go for $2.50 and pumpkins the size of 5-gallon buckets top $10.
"People know what they're looking for," Dutra said.
Dutra hoped to have a corn maze—dried corn stalks decorate the entrance to the pumpkin patch—but inconsistent summer weather wrecked havoc on his corn patch. Early October rains, followed by an autumn heat wave, also affected his product.
But the patch is flourishing now. Already, he's on his second shipment of pumpkins. Smooth-faced pumpkins the most popular for their uniform carving surfaces.
"It's been pretty busy lately," Dutra said.
Jimmy's Pumpkins is open 1-6 p.m. Monday to Thursday and 11-6 Friday, Saturday and Sunday.