Pumping out pumpkins by the patch in Redmond

Rows of sunflowers towered over a field full of bright pumpkins beneath a cloudy autumn sky at Serres Farm just outside of Redmond earlier this week.

Even though it is only a few minutes outside of the city’s downtown, taking a right off State Route 202 toward the farm feels like driving into a more rural chapter in the area’s history.

Which makes sense considering Bill and Nancy Serres have owned the farm since they bought the first few acres of the now 23-acre farm in 1977.

Since then, generations of Bill’s family have been working the land.

“We’re just a family oriented small farm here in Redmond,” Bill said.

Serres Farm focuses mainly on pumpkins and Christmas trees these days, but that wasn’t always the case.

When they first bought the farm, they grew vegetables, beans and corn, but within a few years had switched to strawberries, cucumber and zucchini.

“Somewhere along the way, we kind of got the idea of starting to do a pumpkin patch,” Bill said.

It was so successful that by 2004 the farm had almost entirely transitioned to growing pumpkins. That was also around the time when they started doing a corn maze.

Every year members of the Serres family pull together to design and craft the corn maze, man the sales tent and help out with entertainment.

Bill’s grandchildren lend hands during their sales season, which runs from September through Christmas for pumpkins and then trees.

His brother owns a tree farm in Oregon and supplements their stock for the season.

But work on the farm starts well before the harvest.

Bill said that after New Years, the farm gets pretty quiet, but beginning in early May he starts ordering new equipment and seeds for the year and by the end of the month they’re busy again.

Most of the farm is planted by June and irrigated throughout the summer, especially during one as hot as this year’s.

During their busy season in the fall, up to 500 people can pass through the farm on a busy weekend day.

Musicians, train rides and rubber duck races are all possible entertainment for the folks who come through the farm.

“It’s kind of an experience for kids, a good experience for kids,” Bill said.

On top of the fields of pumpkins, customers can wander through at their leisure to find U-pick pumpkins.

There’s also an old dairy barn that was built in 1933 on the property that the Serres family restored.

While it’s sitting in the back of the property, Bill said he’s thinking of moving it farther toward the center.

He also comes from farming stock himself, having grown up on one when he was a kid.

Bill moved up from Oregon to Clyde Hill in Bellevue in 1973 where he grew corn in his yard, an endeavor that might raise a few eyebrows these days in the expensive neighborhood.

As for future plans, he said they’ll likely be around for a while in Redmond.

“We’re just kind of planning on hanging in here as long as we can, I guess,” he said.

Serres Farm is located at 20306 N.E. 50th St. and is open from 2-6 p.m. Tuesday through Friday and from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. weekends.