The pop-up pumpkin patches at Kevin’s Villa and in Strawberry have given local residents plenty of gourds to choose from every Halloween for the past several years.
Now a new kid on the block is adding a splash of color and energy to a long-blighted space in Tam Junction – and its owners plan to stick around long after the Halloween decorations come down.
is a traditional pumpkin patch with a twist: its owners are using its month-long debut as both a fundraiser for and a platform to launch Grow, a new sustainability-focused art and garden center, hoping to revive the long-blighted space at 254 Shoreline Highway.
Grow is a joint venture of adjacent businesses and and their respective co-owners, Kelly Scott and Martha Pearl (Alpha Dog) and Will Hutchinson and Nate McCarthy (Proof Lab).
“We’ve got these two established businesses and we’ve got this eyesore here that we want to do something awesome with and try to make a business out of it,” Scott said as she spent a recent sunny afternoon “wiping the butts” of hundreds of pumpkins that had gotten wet during the rain of the past several days, hoping to avoid mold.
Tam Junction Pumpkins is donating a portion of its proceeds in October to Kiddo, and is also hosting a raffle for items like a wetsuit, bike and gift certificates to benefit Kiddo.
When November rolls around, the owners plan to transform the space into a multi-faceted community hub serving up all sorts of activities, from pottery workshops and art classes for kids to a weekly, sustainability-focused speaker series. There will also be chickens, a community garden and a twice-weekly produce stand operated by Marin Community Farm Stands.
Hutchinson said many of the components of Grow bubbled up from local residents interested in expanding their own businesses and wanting to do so within Grow. For instance, Megan Schiller, who has been teaching art classes for toddlers at her home-based Littlest Birds Studio downtown, wants to bolster her offering and has a dedicated space at Grow to do so.
“We have so many great ideas for the space and so many people with amazing talent wanting to get involved that we tried to come up with a way to incorporate that and maximize this space,” Scott said.
In developing the space with a sustainability focus, Hutchinson said they had to come up with a business model that was actually, well, sustainable.
“We want this to work and have it stay around,” he said.
In the meantime, the owners of Grow intend to keep Tam Junction Pumpkins buzzing throughout October. A Friday night free film series continues this week with Dive!, a film about dumpster diving and waste in the food industry, at 7 p.m. They also plan to have a 25-foot climbing wall on Oct. 16 and 23, a Halloween costume contest Oct. 22 and a pumpkin-carving contest and Pumpkin Pie Cook-Off on Saturday, Oct. 29.
“This is just a great way to get some exposure, get some color on this corner and get some energy down here,” Scott said.
The 411: and Grow are located at 254 Shoreline Highway, right at Tam Junction. The pumpkin patch is open weekdays 3 p.m. to 8 p.m. and weekends 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Parking is available in the adjacent lot for Alpha Dog and Proof Lab.