FREMONT -- Standing among a sea of orange pumpkins, 5-year-old Yash Gupta found one he liked.
"It has no stem, and it's nice and round," he said.
Ten-year-old Eric Armstrong begged to differ: "I like bigger pumpkins, and I like 'em kind of crooked, too," he said.
Under a warm, sunny October sky, the two Union City youngsters were among the hundreds of adults and children who descended on the pumpkin patch at Ardenwood Historic Farm last weekend. The patch will remain open every day through October, beginning at 9 a.m.
Camera-toting parents joined their children in climbing a pyramid of hay bales eight stacks high or bobbing through a child-size labyrinth.
And families walked through a patch of hundreds of orange pumpkins of all shapes and sizes. The pumpkins were examined, rolled over, sat on, picked up and eventually placed in wheelbarrows or wagons to be purchased.
Fremont resident David Heminger said it's a tradition for him and his wife to have pumpkins.
"We're going to carve two of them," said Heminger, who had one large pumpkin in a wheelbarrow and was looking at another. "One of them will have a kitty head on top of it with a scarf on it. And some little ones will sit in the kitchen windowsill."
Carving pumpkins and using them for decoration in the home is a big part of the appeal of visiting the patch and buying a pumpkin, said farm manager Doug Perry, whose father, Joseph Perry, owns J.E. Perry Farms at Ardenwood, off Highway 84 near Interstate 880.
A lifelong farmer in the area, Joseph Perry began growing pumpkins more than four decades ago, and they're now grown on 8 to 10 acres at Ardenwood.
"It's something you can do as a family," said Doug Perry. "I know my father carved pumpkins when we were kids. It's something the family unit can do together."
Scores of people also queued up for tractor rides at $3 apiece, which provided a tour of the crops at Ardenwood, including cauliflower, lettuce, broccoli, beets, beans and tomatoes.
Union City resident Bea Lefrere said she's been coming to the patch for five years with her husband and two daughters, ages 3 and 7. Her children enjoyed frolicking, and she liked taking pictures of them.
"My husband is French, and they don't have this in France," she said. "It's nice to have this every year."
In addition to pumpkins, the patch also sold a variety of squash, popcorn, and other fruits and vegetables.
"You put the seed in the ground, and 60 days later, it's on the table," Perry said. "You watch it grow, and it makes oxygen for you -- there's nothing better."