Since 1979 the Vertuccio family has been a part of Gilbert, Arizona’s culture. Joe and Maria Vertuccio immigrated to America from Italy and after living in New York while saving up some money; they moved to Arizona and purchased 40 acres to run a family farm.
A lot has changed since the Vertuccio’s originally moved to Gilbert, the urban landscape is encroaching on the farm, which is now run by Joe and Maria’s son Cono and his family. The “you-pick-it” operation, road-side stands, and farmer’s market are now part of the Vertuccio family business along with what they call agri-tainment, otherwise known as fun on the farm. This fun gets kicked up a notch at Harvest Time when the Vertuccio Farm opens up for Fall Festival. Their website tells about how important it is to the family to keep the Fall Festival affordable and a wonderful memory for children of the community. Being that it was a nice October day, and I couldn’t bear to watch the Arizona Cardinals lose so badly to the Minnesota Vikings. I decided instead to corral the family into the car and take a trip to Vertucccio’s Farm to see what was happening there.
The farm is located near Elliot Road and Power Road in Gilbert, which is very easy to access from the 202 Loop. The parking was free and there was lots of it in the gravel lot. The tickets were only $7 each and children 4 years and under are free. You get a lot for that money a petting zoo, to clarify you can see farm animals, whether or not you decide to pet them is up to you. The sign by the animals says “Pet at your own risk.” There’s a corn maze, a train ride, and several bouncing activities, a cow milking activity, knock some crows over with a beanbag game, and the hammer of strength where children took turns with the sledge hammer to see if they can make the bell ding. Several times during the day I heard my kids and other children say things like “This is the BEST day EVER!” and that’s always a great thing for a parent to hear.
We were able to get lunch for both kids that included a large hot dog, Capri Sun drinks, potato chips and two waters for my husband and me for about $10.00. I brought some BBQ over from the vendor that was set up in front of the farmer’s market for my husband and me. I had the beef brisket sandwich with pepper jack mac and cheese. He had the pulled pork with barbeque beans. It was $16 for the two of us, and it was really good barbeque. While we munched on our food we perused the pictures posted of the corn mazes of past years, they were really great with many patriotic themes. This year’s theme is Angry Birds. We got a laugh out of that, they did a terrific job with it. There was a television in the picnic area with the Cardinals’ game on so we could see at that point they were losing 3 to something like 28 or 34 by then. So I was really glad we didn’t stay home to see that.
After lunch we took on the corn maze. It was a lot of fun, though we didn’t find all six paw prints that you are invited to find in the maze and place on your investigation card, we still had fun being lost and found in the maze for awhile. We bought some pumpkins on the way out. I bought my tickets online and with the tickets came a coupon for $1 off any pumpkin. They had small pumpkins there for $1 so the girls were able to take home a souvenir pumpkin for free using the coupon. That is a fantastic value for $7.
We took a quick trip over to the Farmer’s Market before we left. I loaded up on some great produce, some cheese made in Gilbert, and various hard candies and caramels and some really great looking strawberries for 99 cents a carton which I didn’t expect to see so late in the season. When we went home everyone in the car was happy and satisfied. It was a really great family day and a wonderful memory for the girls. We were glad that we wore some comfortable walking shoes and had a really fun family morning together.
For more information on the Fall Festival 2011 visit:
4011 S. Power Rd. Mesa, AZ
Mon-Thur 9am-9pm Fri-Sat 9am-10pm Sun 10am-6pm