Pumpkin farm in San Mateo County allowed to operate agricultural tourism initiatives

A coastal pumpkin farm in San Mateo County that is known for offering seasonal tourist activities has been allowed by authorities to continue offering tourist attractions.

The farm, known for attractions such as pony rides and hay mazes, was considered for higher taxes as it was seen to be veering away from agriculture. However, County officials said that they would amend a contract with owners to ensure that agriculture on the land is maintained as it is.

Arata Pumpkin Farm had been attracting many visitors with offerings such as a haunted barn, coliseum-type sword fighting and a large metal gorilla. The new agreement would require owners to scale back operations and limit the seasonal activities to 90 days. Else, the farm would need to obtain zoning permits. Officials also said that they would not encourage more such farms that offer tourist attractions and still claim tax benefits related to agriculture.

Arata Pumpkin Farm is spread across eight acres on Verde Road to the east of Cabrillo Highway. One side of the farm is bordered by the Lobitos Creek. It produces pumpkins, corn and fava beans.

With the new amendment, the farm has been allowed to offer attractions as long as they are secondary to agriculture. The farm would continue to offer pony rides, hay rides, a farm animal petting zoo, a children’s play area with up to two inflatable structures, a seasonally-decorated barn, a farm-themed train ride and a hay bale maze.