It’s finally Halloween season again! There are so many fun treats and activities to enjoy this fall. One commonly enjoyed activity is going to the pumpkin patch. There’s a farm in the Portland area that has not only a pumpkin patch, but also an abundance of other amazing things to offer. That farm is Bella Organic Farm, and it’s located on Sauvie Island. The certified organic, 100 acre farm is family owned and was established in 2006 by Johnny Kondilis and his wife.
Bella Organic’s pumpkin patch is filled with every size of pumpkin. To get to the field of pumpkins, you take a hayride and get dropped off at the pumpkin field. Once you’ve picked out your perfect pumpkins, you take the hayride back to the central part of the farm. These pumpkins are perfect for carving, making crunchy pumpkin seeds, or baking seasonal pumpkin dishes and desserts. Not only do they have pumpkins for you to pick out, they also have U-Pick all organic strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, and blackberries from July to September.
One of their most popular attractions is their 7 acre (2.7 mile) corn maze. Each year they choose a different message for their corn maze. This year, the topic of gun violence was chosen. The design of the maze reads, “No more silence, end gun violence.” In a recent Instagram post, the farm said this design was created to raise awareness and to educate about this community issue so we can take action. “While personal issues require individual solutions, community problems require community action to solve,” Bella Organic writes. “Ending gun violence is a must, but the first step is to talk about it. Instead of placing blame and pointing fingers, we encourage you to spark conversation with your community members and lawmakers.”
This isn’t the first time they’ve raised awareness about issues impacting locals with their corn maze design. In 2022, their design featured the national suicide prevention hotline with the word “hope” to raise awarness about suicide. Sofia Kondilis-Hashem, one of the farm managers and marketing director who’s worked full time at Bella Organic for 13 years says, “We donate money to a non profit each year with the proceeds from our mazes. Last year we donated $10,000 to Lines for Life for suicide prevention.” In past years, the farm has also spoken out against hatred in the U.S. and honored frontline workers. “We like to use our platform as a way to promote something positive for the community,” Kondilis-Hashem says.
Since the maze is so large, you are given a sheet of paper with multiple choice questions. There are scarecrows scattered across the maze, and if you guess the correct answer to a question, you get led to a scarecrow which tells you which way to go by having you scratch something off of the paper. Eventually, you get led out of the maze. It’s a fun activity to enjoy with family and friends!
Not only do they have a regular corn maze, but every weekend in October they also have a haunted corn maze. From dolls, to clowns, to getting chased by a person with a chainsaw, and other scary costumes jumping out at you in the dark, it’s bound to give you a fright. If getting scared is your speed, or even if it’s not, it’s definitely worth trying out.
If you’re feeling hungry while roaming the farm, there are booths where you can get savory and sweet food items like gyro wraps, burgers, and curly fries, as well as caramel apples with a variety of toppings. They also have a farm store where they sell homemade and all organic groceries from the farm. This consists of a variety of greens, tomatoes, sweet corn, different kinds of pumpkins, berries, hazelnuts, pies, and more! One of the most popular items is their homemade crisp apple cider, which is a perfect fall refreshment. There’s also hard cider, wine, and beer for adults. Inside the store, you can also find a gift shop filled with homemade soaps, lotions, and body or room sprays.
Other activities they have for younger kids include a small petting zoo where you can pet and feed animals like goats, pigs, and chickens. They also have small basketball hoops, a little maze made out of hay, cow train rides, and different photo cutout boards for you to be able to take pictures. The cutouts include pumpkins, sunflowers, berries, and more!
Around the farm there are lots of picnic benches with covers that you can sit under. Andrea Wild, a customer who’s been to Bella Organic Farm multiple times, says, “The open fire pits and picnic tables add outdoor ambience and welcome spots to get warm.”
Kondilis-Hashem says it hasn’t always been easy to get to where they are now. She explains that her parents and herself transitioned it to a certified organic farm and built it from the ground up. Even though it’s been a lot of work, she says it’s been very rewarding. “It feels great to be able to have a place where people can bring their families and friends and make memories here,” Kondilis-Hashem says.