Pumpkins– They’re More Than Just Jack-O-Lanterns

Highlights:

  • This month is the busiest time of year for pumpkin farms
  • Pumpkins are used for more than just jack-o-lanterns
  • They are often used in food, like baked goods
Pumpkins and Squash at Avila Valley Barn

Pumpkins and Squash at Avila Valley Barn

When we think of pumpkins, especially during this time of year, no doubt many of us think of jack-o-lanterns. However, there is much more to the world of pumpkins.

Pumpkins are used for many different types of food items during the fall season, which adds to the success of the many pumpkin farms that make their living during this time of year. Such items might include:

  • Pumpkin Pie
  • Pumpkin Bread
  • Pumpkin Fudge

But how do the pumpkins come to be in your pumpkin pie, you might ask? Well, according to Meghan Bishop (whose family owns Bishop’s Pumpkin Farm), it takes about 80 to 90 days for a pumpkin to reach maturity.

Once the pumpkins reach maturity, they are harvested. Depending on the type of pumpkin, they then go toward their prospective uses. This means that some go toward being carving pumpkins for jack-o-lanterns and the smaller, sweeter varieties usually go toward food items.

These items, as well as the carving pumpkins, draw large crowds during October. Bruce Smith, of Avila Valley Barn said:

“With six acres devoted to parking on the property, we are usually full and people drive around waiting for other people to leave.”—Bruce Smith

Pumpkin Pie Fudge at Avila Valley Barn

Pumpkin Pie Fudge at Avila Valley Barn

Renee Richards, another employee of Avila Valley Barn said while ringing up a long line of customers, that:

“The weekend before Halloween is usually the busiest week for the pumpkin sales.”—Renee Richards

She elaborated that the weather this year decreased the numbers slightly because there was so much rain.

Some might choose to buy their pumpkin products already made by the pumpkin farms, while others might decide to buy the smaller pumpkins and make their own products from scratch.

Of her family’s farm in Wheatland, California, Megan says:

“Anything you can think of to put pumpkin into, in terms of food, we make it.”—Meghan Bishop

If you do want to make your own pumpkin pie from scratch, though, you would usually follow these steps:

  • First you would wash the pumpkin and cut it in half
  • Then you would scoop out all of the seeds and stringy insides
  • Cook the pumpkin until soft
  • Scoop out pumpkin filling
  • Puree filling and add to your recipe
Some of Avila Valley Barn's Other Pumpkin Inspired Treats

Some of Avila Valley Barn's Other Pumpkin Inspired Treats

Whether you decide you want to make your own treats, or let someone else make them for you, there are a wide variety of products that utilize pumpkins as a selling point (especially during the fall months). So hopefully you find this information interesting and useful when choosing your Halloween eats this year.

Also, don’t be afraid to approach the employees at pumpkin farms with questions about which pumpkins to use in your own dishes.

Happy Fall!

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