The Pumpkin Chucker at the Pumpkin Patch at Faulkner Farm in Santa Paula

A trebuchet is a catapult that works by using the energy of a raised counterweight to throw a projectile. It was popular in medieval times for hurling large stones and missiles. It became obsolete in the 15th century with the introduction of gunpowder.

However, in recent years, the Pumpkin Chucker at the Faulkner Farm Pumpkin Patch in Santa Paula has brought this ancient projectile thrower back into the spotlight!

For $5 (or 3 for $10), visitors to the pumpkin patch can select a small pumpkin that is carefully placed into a launch position on the Pumpkin Chucker, ring the Pumpkin Chucker bell, then pull the rope that triggers a 500 lb counterweight that projects the pumpkin 200 feet away towards a target.

In our recent visit, I was surprised to experience about a 45 minute wait for the Pumpkin Chucker! But that didn't seem to bother anyone, as everyone enjoyed watching the airborne pumpkins and cheering as they came close to the target. It was so popular in fact that I think this could be a great year-round business opportunity...flinging pumpkins, watermelons, canteloupes and other worthy produce!

Pumpkin commencing its 200 foot flight from the Pumpkin Chucker

The Faulkner Farm Pumpkin Patch, run by the Rotary Club of Santa Paula since 2007, is typically open on weekends in October each year. Learn more at

Pumpkin Chucker target area and post-flight remnants of pumpkins at Faulkner Farm