Months before the fields at Smith Family Farms Pumpkin Patch erupt into a carpet of bright orange polka dots , Neal Smith and his family do the work behind the scenes .
After they till and prepare the five-to six-acre patch for planting , about 15,000 to 20,000 pumpkin seeds go into the ground , where they patiently grow through summer and into fall .
Located three miles west of historic Pendleton , the working grain and livestock farm has been in operation for more than 100 years . Seven generations have worked this land , but it wasn ’ t until about 20 years ago that Neal and his wife , Jennifer , planted a pumpkin patch on their property .
“ We decided to add that additional part to our operation as a way to diversify and grow the farm with all the urban sprawl that was moving in and allow the farm to support our growing family ,” Neal explains .
That “ growing family ” is now all grown up and still involved in day-to-day operations on the 3,000-acre farm .
“ All three of our boys always have and still help with both the pumpkin patch and the farm ,” Neal notes .
“ Our oldest , Mitchell , and his wife , Courtney , are