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All About Pumpkins

Ag Consumers

With the slightest chill in the air, the 2021 fall season is upon us. Football fans are ready to cheer on their favorite teams and every coffee shop is serving pumpkin spice beverages left and right. This shift in season comes accompanied with exciting changes in activities to participate in. A popular, family favorite activity consists of visiting a local pumpkin patch. Pumpkins are notorious for being used as fall decorations, and are also present in a variety of savory dishes. Since pumpkins are a trending commodity during the fall months, we have compiled the perfect guide for all things you need to know about this popular gourd! We have got you covered for all of your pumpkin needs no matter your intended use!

Pumpkin Fun Facts - https://web.extension.illinois.edu/pumpkins/facts.cfm, https://www.ers.usda.gov/newsroom/trending-topics/pumpkins-background-statistics/

  1. The largest pumpkin ever grown weighed in at a whopping 1,140 pounds
  2. Pumpkins are 90% water
  3. Pumpkins originated in Central America
  4. Pumpkins were once used as an ingredient for pie crust, rather than the pie filling.
  5. In 2019, the top pumpkin producing states were Illinois, California, Indiana, Michigan, and Virginia https://www.ers.usda.gov/webdocs/charts/95204/pumpkin-acres-harvested_450px.png?v=8174.4

Choosing the perfect pumpkin:

When selecting your perfect pumpkin, there are a few key characteristics that should be taken into consideration in order to choose the gourd that best suits your intended use. Paying attention to these details will ensure you get the most out of your pumpkin for this fall season.

  1. Avoid pumpkins with cracks or splits
  2. Avoid pumpkins with soft spots or sunken areas.
  3. A mature pumpkin will resist scratching when you gently press your fingernail into the rind
  4. Look for a firm bright green stem
  5. Never carry your pumpkin by the stem

Be sure you pick the correct pumpkin for your intended use!

A large uniform pumpkin is best for Jack-o-lanterns while a small heavy pumpkin is best for things like pie or other dishes.

https://www.johnson.k-state.edu/lawn-garden/agent-articles/vegetables/how-to-pick-the-perfect-pumpkin.html

What to do with your pumpkin when you get home!

Upon selecting the pumpkin best suited for you intended use, it is time to take it home! With the pumpkin being such a versatile commodity, your options of utilization are endless! Listed below are some tasty recipes, as well as creative carving tips and tricks to inspire your creative side!

Recipes

https://web.extension.illinois.edu/pumpkins/recipes.cfm

https://food.unl.edu/perfectly-pumpkin-recipe-collection

Jack-O-Lantern

https://extension.usu.edu/news_sections/home_family_and_food/jack-o-lanterns

https://www.bhg.com/halloween/pumpkin-carving/halloween-pumpkin-stencils/

Find a pumpkin patch near you!

We have compiled a list of resources to help you find a pumpkin patch in your area. You can also do a simple internet search. Don’t forget to call ahead for hours of operation, availability and any restrictions due to COVID-19. Most places have protocol in place which allows for a safe farm visit. When deciding which pumpkin patch is the best fit for you and your family’s needs, please consider supporting local agritoursim operations for endless amounts of family fun!

Virginia

https://www.virginia.org/things-to-do/farms-and-agriculture/pick-your-own-farms/corn-mazes-and-pumpkin-patches/

https://www.pumpkinpatchesandmore.org/VApumpkins.php

West Virginia

https://www.pumpkinpatchesandmore.org/WVpumpkins.php

Maryland

https://www.pumpkinpatchesandmore.org/MDpumpkins.php

Fall fun is finally here and for everyone to enjoy! Picking the perfect pumpkin is a fun activity for individuals of all ages! Feel free to utilize the resources provided to ensure you and your family make the most of this fall season. These are memories that will last a lifetime!

Happy Fall!

Click on image for the PDF version.

Author: Ivy Ward, Intern, Farm Credit of the Virginias Knowledge Center

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