Monday, October 31, 2016

Pumpkins Everywhere

My long time readers will remember that I owned a pumpkin business for many years and used all my profits from that to put myself through six years of college. (I didn't get an advanced degree, it just took me six year!) I've posted several pictures over the years but never had one of the pumpkin patch itself (I think) until now. I found it in a tray of my parents slides that I've been scanning into digital format. Behold!

In it you can see the beginning of harvest as my brother and I started picking and rowing the pumpkins. This picture was in our early years of the operation when we mostly sold to roadside produce stands and the truck in the picture belonged to one of our customers. As we got older and wiser, we hired high school kids looking for fundraisers to come pick pumpkins for an evening after school. We could get a lot more people helping for not very much money. I'm glad they never figured that one out. Even with all the people, we always rowed our pumpkins and then in the later years would drive the semi trailers between the rows and again using high school labor, load two rows into the back of the semi as the driver slowly moved through the field.

We started off with a bumper crop out of our regular garden one year which then grew to a quarter of an acre which grew to three acres, then five as in these pictures and eventually ten acres in our final couple years. We also branched out and grew sweetcorn, popcorn and ornamental gourds and pumpkins as well. In the picture below you can see the trailer that (I'm guessing my dad) the person taking the photo used to get a scale of the five acre plot.

Finally below, you can see the stock trailer that this particular customer used to transport pumpkins to his various roadside stands. Notice the stacking method my brother and I used to preserve the stems. We laid the first row on their sides and then subsequent layers with the stems pointing down through the cracks in the layers below. One reason we got more business than our competitors was because our stacking method allowed us to get more pumpkins in a load while still preserving the stems so they could be used as jack-o-lantern handles.

Happy Halloween!


Bob said...

Wow - the things I learn from my blog friends! Since I'm a relatively new reader, did not know this about you. And you put yourself through college this way! This would be a great story for the politicians who believe people are ENTITLED to a college education and the only way to get it is through loans they take the rest of their lives paying back or just making it, ahem, free.

I digress. Those are some great looking pumpkins 🎃. Happy Halloween!

Kelly said...

This is new to me, also! Just look at all those pumpkins!! I'm impressed. :D

Vince said...

Wowza, you had that many.

Ed said...

Bob - When I graduated college, I made a down payment on a small Honda Civic for the only time in my life (and which I still own), paid two months rent and bought groceries and I think I had less than $100 left of my pumpkin money before my first paycheck to live on. When ever I get down about where I am now, I always think back to how broke I was and owing money to landlords and car companies. It took me months before I felt I had cash to spend on frivolous things like eating out!

Kelly - Maybe I should revisit that subject for the sake of you and Bob.

Vince - It was a lot for sure!

Leigh said...

Wow, that's some field of pumpkins!

I've been reading through your harvest posts and finding them interesting. The scale of it all is larger than I can imagine for myself, but gives a good glimpse into production farming. It's nice that you still have your hand in it.

Ed said...

Leigh - It really is just a scale thing. As farms grow larger, the equipment becomes bigger so you can cover more ground in the same amount of time. BUT, the farmer(s) still remain about as involved and hands on as they would on a small farm, perhaps a bit more at times because there is more things to fix or maintain.

Bone said...

Ah, so you invented the ol' stem-down stacking method? I thought pumpkins just came from the grocery store :)

In all seriousness, a very cool story. And something I didn't know about you as well. 'Course if you'd mentioned it in the last year, I wouldn't have been around to know :(