By Pamela Dozois

Contributing Writer

Summerset Farm is a little agricultural gem at Edison Street and Baseline Avenue just off Highway 154 in Santa Ynez, and in October it explodes with a colorful pumpkin patch.

This rustic and picturesque farm stand has been in the same location for 14 years, and Sally Maher has been the proprietor for 11 years. It is also the location of Dale’s Nursery, run by Dale Bostrom, a California certified nurseryman. Bostron has been certified for 35 years and has been working at the farm for the past six years.

Johnny Chandler and Frances Olive-Hampton, visitors from Los Angeles, stop by Summerset Farm to chat with Sally Maher and buy some strawberries.

Not everyone is born with a green thumb, but Maher seems to have two. Cultivating is her passion. She, along with her assistant, Alberto Jiminez, plant all the produce sold at the farm stand. Jiminez makes sure everything is properly irrigated and growing well. Working in harmony with nature, using some old-fashioned techniques, the farm is herbicide and pesticide free.

Maher also runs the quaintly decorated farm stand, with freshly picked fruits and vegetables ready for purchase. But for those who want to experience a deeper connection with their food and nature, the farm allows customers to meander through the farm and pick their own seasonal berries, grapes, and apples right from the garden. For some, Summerset Farm is the first experience in a bountiful garden setting.

“I’d say ninety-five percent of my out-of-town customers are really into picking from the field. It’s something different for people from the city to do. Some come and stay for hours in the garden, taking pictures and tasting the berries,” said Maher.

The farm is seasonal – open May through December, seven days a week, from 9 a.m. until closing.

During the late spring and summer months the farm stand offers raspberries, strawberries, peaches, plums, apricots, tomatoes, along with a variety of vegetables such as onions, carrots, cucumbers, zucchini, four different varieties of potatoes, peppers, corn and sun flowers, which help keep the birds out of the berries. From late summer through fall they offer pumpkins, gourds, squash and apples.

“Last year I planted 3,400 onion plants. There’s months of planting involved in planting the garden – it takes days to get each project completed,” said Maher.

Summerset Farm has a quaintly decorated farm stand with freshly picked fruits and vegetables ready for purchase.

Besides a variety of seasonal fruits and vegetables, the farm stand offers local honey, jams made by Maher, pickles, juices, lavender pouches, holiday decorations such as fancy gourds, and plant fertilizer.

There are several bee hives around the property with an observation hive inside the farm stand where visitors can view the comings and goings of the bees and their pollen collection activities.

“Our bee keeper is Archie Mitchell from Lompoc Valley Honey. He takes care of the hives and bottles the honey for us,” said Maher.

The farm’s October pumpkin patch display includes large decorative pumpkins, pumpkins for cooking pies and soup, jack-o-lantern pumpkins, and decorative turban squash and fancy gourds. It is one of the largest pumpkin patches in the valley, growing more than 28 varieties of pumpkin, squash and gourds.

“This is the premier photo op spot for fall pumpkins,” said Maher. “We also offer train rides through the farm, for both adults and children, and have a bounce house for the little ones offering numerous photo opportunities both in the field and at the farm stand.”

“We have had the train (on wheels) for five years now. Someone down south had it for sale and the owners of the farm purchased it and we use it to take those interested for a train ride around the farm,” explained Maher. “In 2016 our little train was awarded ‘Best Float’ in the Christmas parade.”

During October the farm welcomes children from kindergarten through second grade to visit the farm.

“We have a lot of field trips during October from schools all around the county; Lompoc, Santa Maria, and all the valley schools. Children can experience the farm, pick corn fresh from the garden and savor the tastes, smells and the natural environment,” said Maher. “It gives children the opportunity to see where their food comes from, and each child who participates in the school field trip gets to take home a pumpkin, a gourd, and an apple.”

“This is a great place to work. I get up every morning and I am happy to go to work. That’s important in life. It’s a pleasure to meet and greet the customers. Every year is different – I get to plant different things in the garden. I have the most beautiful office in the valley. I’m incredibly lucky to be able to spend my days in such a glorious environment doing what I love,” Maher said.

Summerset Farm is at 3450 Baseline Ave. in Santa Ynez. For more information, call 805-245-0989 or find them on Facebook.

Information on Dale’s Nursery can be found at