A trip to Vala’s Pumpkin Patch & Orchard is a family tradition of ours each fall. In addition to picking out pumpkins, feeding the animals and racing each other on carts, we know we’re going to eat while there. The food is a big part of the Vala’s experience!
Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Vala’s Pumpkin Patch & Orchard. All thoughts, opinions and typos are my own.
I visited Vala’s on opening weekend so my family could enjoy some of the special entertainment available during the new Honeycrisp Festival (and so I could try food only available during the festival…more on that below). If you want to catch the Honeycrisp Festival, it’s in September.
Things you should know about Vala’s Pumpkin Patch
If you’re not from Nebraska, you should know a few things about Vala’s Pumpkin Patch & Orchard before you go. This pumpkin patch, located just west of Omaha at 12102 S. 180th St. in Gretna, Neb., is not your typical pumpkin patch.
I liken Vala’s to a Disney-fied pumpkin patch full of attractions, photo opportunities and characters (but no rides, though). You need a map or you will get lost. And like Disney, a trip to Vala’s is a full-day affair.
Vala’s Pumpkin Patch hours
Vala’s is open seasonally from mid-September through Oct. 31. The daily hours are Sunday through Thursday, 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., and Friday through Saturday, 9 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Vala’s Pumpkin Patch prices
Admission varies, and it’s cheaper to visit on the weekdays than on the weekends. 2019 prices are:
- – Mondays through Thursdays, $12.95 per person
- -September Fridays through Sundays, $16.95 per person
- -October Fridays through Sundays, $23.95 per person
There’s also the option of buying a season pass.
Parking is free. The parking is on grass and dirt and is a well-orchestrated operation. There are attendants in the lots on busy weekends directing you where to park.
Related post: Try the Vala’s Scavenger Hunt on your next trip to the pumpkin patch!
Things to know about Vala’s food & drinks
Vala’s Pumpkin Patch & Orchard is open daily starting at 9 a.m. and going on into the night, so you have the option of breakfast, lunch, dinner and everything in between for food.
There are 26 different places to purchase food a Vala’s, ranging from sweet shops with ice cream or donuts to more substantial offerings of burgers, pizza and chili. See the current map with all the food options here.
Vala’s Pumpkin Patch food prices
For entrees, expect to pay about $6 for kids and about $11 for adults. Ordering à la carte or just snack items will be cheaper.
Tip: You won’t find many water fountains at Vala’s (there’s one by the main restroom). Every food vendor with a soda fountain, though, will kindly fill up your water bottle with ice water, though.
What should you eat at Vala’s if you only want to splurge on one thing? Well, that depends.
Read on for my suggestions:
Best new food to try at Vala’s
Each year, Vala’s introduces new foods to rival your annual must-haves.
In 2019, my favorite new food is the apple funnel cake sundae. The warm, crisp funnel cake is tipped with caramel sauce, baked apples and vanilla ice cream. This is a very shareable treat.
Other new treats at Vala’s includes an apple cider donut sundae and a new popcorn and cotton candy stand by the Howl at the Moon Stage.
For more substantial food, new options include meatball subs, available in the Country Bakery and vegetable chili (vegan) available at the Country Bakery.
There are a few new foods available only during the Honeycrisp Festival, including ribs, which I highly recommend trying. You can only find them at Time-Out Turkey Legs. There is also a Honeycrisp apple pie available only early in the season.
Vala’s best snack food to try
This topic – the best snack at Vala’s – is highly debatable. I’m going to suggest no trip is complete without kettle corn.
I have some close friends who will argue vehemently that there are far superior, must-have-every-time snacks, including the cookie cone and the apple cider donut.
And while not a sweet treat, I’d add roasted corn on the cob makes for a great snack option, too.
Must-try dinner food at Vala’s Pumpkin Patch
I would recommend visiting Vala’s on the weekend during the Honeycrisp Festival to try the ribs. Those would be my top choice if they were available all season. As it is, you have until Sunday, Sept. 22, to try the and even then, they’re only available on a limited basis Saturday and Sunday. Hurry!
So, besides the ribs, I’d recommend trying the gigantic pork tenderloin sandwich at Pork Chop Annie’s. It’s good if you’ve got a big appetite.
Pork Chop Annie’s is our go-to place for food at Vala’s. Entrees there come with two sides. Having tried all of the sides, I’d say go with the baked beans and then your choice of a second one (psst, get the fries).
Many people will tell you to just buy a turkey leg and call it a day. You could go that route and it would cost you about the same.
Going earlier in the day? I found out that Vala’s serves breakfast! You can get quiche in The Pie Barn, fresh waffles served with apple butter at Cousin’s Chicken, biscuits and gravy at the Country Bakery.
Don’t miss these pies at Vala’s Pie Barn
Kirsten Fong grew up at Vala’s (her parents, Tim and Jan Vala, started the pumpkin patch in 1984) and her one of her sisters, Kelsey, bakes the pies. I asked Kirsten what the best pie to try was and she told the s’mores pie has a devoted following among the staff members and guests in the know.
Head directly to The Pie Barn if you want to try a slice or any of the other flavors like pumpkin or apple.
Vala’s has weekly pie specials. In 2019, the schedule is:
Sept. 20 – Lemon Walnut
Sept. 27 – Kitchen Sink
Oct. 4 – Chocolate Caramel Turtle Pie
Oct. 11 – Monster Cookie
Oct. 18 – S’mores
Oct. 25 – Apple Cranberry
True story: The pies aren’t the best thing available in The Pie Barn! “Kelsey’s apple dumplings are the very best thing to eat on the whole entire farm. Seriously,” said Fong. “They’re not even a pie, but they’re available in The Pie Barn, and on a limited basis, meaning she sometimes runs out.”
While I don’t have pie recipes, or even tasty dumpling recipes, Vala’s was kind enough to share its pumpkin bar recipe found in their cookbook. You can download it here.
Bucket list food item at Vala’s
If you want to ultimate splurge, even more of a splurge than the apple funnel cake sundae, head to Kyla’s Ice Cream Shop & Caramel Apple Barn and get yourself a Freak Shake. The giant shake comes in two flavors: caramel apple and s’mores.
The Freak Shakes are each $11.99 and are definitely shareable.
Trying a shake is on my bucket list because those things are huge! I can’t vouch for it being tasty or not, but I can tell you it’s highly Instagrammable food.