For the past 31 years, Debbie and Jeff's Pumpkin Patch has been a regular sight every October at the corner of Pacific Coast Highway and 21st Street in Hermosa Beach.
In an era where pumpkin patches in Los Angeles have morphed into small carnival attractions complete with pony rides and bounce houses to stay in business, owners Debbie Perry and husband Jeff have kept close to their original mission of simply peddling pumpkins for Halloween.
"Most pumpkin patches have closed up and gone out of business," said Debbie, whose portfolio of pumpkin plots has dwindled from ten down to only one. "I am the exception to the rule... I really shouldn't be here right now."
Started as a supplementary income source to help pay expenses for her Christmas tree lot at the same location, the pumpkin patch pops up each year during the first week of October and starts selling around 700 pumpkins.
Even with large grocery store competition just down the road, Debbie credits the longevity of her little Patch in the biggest little beach city to the continued support of the community. Grown adults, who once visited the patch as young kids, are now bringing their own children to pick out pumpkins, Debbie said.
"It is the locals that keep it alive," said Debbie. "It is just really hard... If it wasn't for the local people helping me, I wouldn't be here," she added.
Unlike many pumpkin patches in the Southland, Debbie said she does not charge admission to enter the lot.
While Debbie has added two goats, rabbits, some ducks and guinea pigs for the kids, she said she doesn't charge to pet them and often gives out food so children can feed the animals for free.
"It is fun to watch the kids' faces when they come through the pumpkin patch," Debbie said. "They just light up and there is a twinkle in their eye."
Debbie also said her pumpkin pricing still remains competitive with the big box stores with prices ranging from $2 for the smallest pumpkin to $150 for a 250-pound monster pumpkin.
While Debbie could easily raise her prices, she said her goal is not to take advantage of her loyal customers.
"I have been here 31 years and feel guilty (raising prices) -- they come every year," Debbie said.
While working the same job for 31 years may tire some, Debbie said she still enjoys setting up and working at the patch each year.
"I enjoy pumpkins... I think they are beautiful," said Debbie. "I think it makes this whole area--to drive by and see this nice field of orange pumpkins -- I think people really enjoy it... I enjoy it."
Debbie and Jeff's Pumpkin Patch, located at the corner of PCH and 21st Street, is open every day at 10:00 a.m. and will remain open until the end of October. After that, Debbie will convert the lot into a Christmas tree lot the day after Thanksgiving. According to Debbie, anyone who buys a pumpkin in October will get ten percent off their Christmas tree purchase.