Joyce Battaglia brushed 100 degrees off her shoulder. She said she’s used to the heat on her Mountain Valley Ranch in Ramona.
Battaglia said she’s not used to so many people visiting her pumpkin patch. Despite triple-digit heat the past few weeks, she said her farm has set sales records.
“I would say we’ve already doubled our sales at this time of the year, which we usually do for the whole 31 days (of October),” she said.
Battaglia credited the pandemic. The East County offers San Diegans a safe, outdoor place to go without breaking the bank.
“People are not staying home,” laughed Lisa Rossmiller from behind the counter at The Old Julian Garage. “When it’s really, really hot, because we were up in the 105s and stuff like that, it did affect business. People didn’t want to come up.”
However, the mountain town was in the 90s on Tuesday and the sidewalks were packed with visitors. Rossmiller said it helped that San Diegans are creatures-of-habit.
“I believe people will still come up just because they’re used to coming up this time of year,” she said.
However, Rossmiller and Battaglia both said the threat of wildfires always lingers on their horizons.
“Oh, definitely, especially with the heat and the wind,” exclaimed Rossmiller. “And we haven’t had rain in over six months. Where I live, the ground is actually cracking.”
“When I start hearing that, then we get a little nervous,” said Battaglia. “But other than that, we’ve been pretty good.”
Battaglia said she lost one of the houses on her farm during the Witch Fire in 2007. She rebuilt and tries to stay focused on the booming day-to-day crowds arriving at her pumpkin patch.
“It hasn’t stopped them. Like, the first week when it was 104, 105, I kept saying, ‘Are you crazy?’ But we were happy to have them out here.”