Meet the city of Texas that became the pumpkin capital of the United States


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In 1541, Spanish explorer Francisco Vezquez de Coronado led an expedition through Texas, spending winters in the high plains near the town of Floydada, about 50 miles northeast of Lubbock. According to legend, Coronado and his crew, facing starvation, sought subsistence from the native tribes in the area, who fed the men who are now considered a celebrated chieftain in these parts: the pumpkin.

This is the first mention of the famous winter squash in Floydada, today known as the pumpkin capital of the USA – revered for the dry, cool climate that is perfect for enhancing the fragility of fall.

Between the 1960s and the 80s, pumpkin cultivation yielded millions of pumpkins over 30 kilometers. Now, there are about four farmers growing squash varieties on 1,000 acres every year. Nevertheless, despite the decline in numbers, these farmers still produce around 2 million pumpkins a year.

“I think pumpkin farming is like car racing, rodeo, basketball or yoga,” says Tim Assitore, whose family has been cultivating pumpkins here since the 1960s. “It is found in your blood.”

The history of the Asister Punkin Ranch begins with a close family friend and the wife of a farmer named “Uncle Slim” Robertson. She persuaded her husband to sow pumpkin on 5 acres in a year and the couple started selling crops by standing on the roadside. They were very successful, they eventually expanded to vegetable brokers in Dallas and then outgrew grocery stores to the east, where it is too moist to pick up pumpkins.

Considered to be the founder of pumpkin farming in Floydada, Robertson taught Esther’s father everything about squash. Today, the farm, run by the family of the Asseters, grows about 150 different varieties of fall items, including the famous orange jack-o-lantern child to collect each year, along with the rare red, blue and pink pumpkin. Huh.

None of the pumpkins look the same, Asetter says. The largest he raised was up to 300 pounds. As the name of the farm, Asetter points out, it is a twist on the word pumpkin, as well as a country peasant term. “If you’re talking to your husband, you’ll call him a punkin,” he says.

Farmers in Floydada start planting pumpkin seeds in mid-May and harvest about 120 days later in September – cutting pumpkins with vines sometimes 30-feet long when their skins are enough to throw them on a shipping cart And they reach them with ripe colors.

“Each pumpkin is handled six to seven times before it is placed on a truck to go to a grocery store,” says Asetter. “It takes a huge amount of labor.”

This year has been difficult for many reasons. The farm relies on workers in South Texas, which has fallen victim to the storm, resulting in many laborers finding work through construction jobs. On top of an epidemic, add the number of 100-degree days and less rain than usual, and it is challenging to say the least. According to pumpkin, pumpkins require one ton of water, and they do not take in heat.

“We efficiently apply our water and resources in such a way that we are very lucky,” he says. “We have 70 years of experience, and certainly that experience is very good. We have the right farmers with the right attitude. “

But the assistant says that the strangest thing by 2020 is the huge demand for pumpkin. With people living at home and spending more time with family, they focus more on time-honored traditions, such as carving jack-o-lanterns at Halloween time, he believes.

“They say that there is a strong demand to send them out and make them public.” “It’s twice as usual.”

The Assiter Punkin Ranch, like most pumpkin patch sites, is still open to visitors this year despite the epidemic. Asetter says this is the right way to cover outside and social distance. And they are happy that people are still coming out because seeing the smile on children’s faces is the best part of pumpkin cultivation.

“Smiles bring those pumpkins, that’s a very important part,” he says.

Patch is correct

Here are some of the best pumpkin patches in the Lone Star State, some that grow their own pumpkins on site and others that ship them from places like Floydada.

Ester punkin wrench Visit the farm to see pumpkin varieties in all sizes and colors, visit the farm and learn how the crop is grown. Enjoy other fun fall activities, such as riding a pumpkin-shaped train and going to the petting zoo.

Barton Hill Farm Located just outside of Austin, you can choose your favorite Jack-O-Lantern from a giant pumpkin patch, get lost in the 3.5-mile corn maze, and relax in the semi-private cabana available on rent. The Fall Festival and Pumpkin Patch runs until 15 November each week and includes barbecue and live music.

Sweet Berry Farm Located on 60 acres near Marble Falls, Sweet Berry Farm has thousands of pumpkins as far as the eye can see, a huge Texas-sized corn maze, and miles and miles of wildflowers. Fall Fun’s Harvest runs until November 8, when you can hop on a hayride or even fill your own scarecrow.

Autumn in the arboretum Looking for a Gir Wonderland with everything crafted out of pumpkin? The festival features four, 20-foot-high adorned pumpkin houses and creative displays drawn from over 90,000 pumpkins, gourd, and squash. Get lost in a grassy alley maze or visit 3.5 acres of food, herbs, and vegetable gardens. Enjoy live music on weekends from 1 November.

Debary farm Located just outside of Houston, Dewberry Farm has over 50 acres of attractions, including 8 acres of cornfield maze, pumpkin stacks and adorable farm animals. Ride a carousel, tilt the slides down, shoot a paintball gun, and indulge in barbecue, pizza, and other treats. Open Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays in October and choose weekends in November.

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