Summer has gone and the pumpkins have arrived in Western New York patches
SPRINGVILLE — Ray Troutman has set up shop at JR’s Produce Stand in Dayton. After purchasing the family farm from his father, Troutman was in business for 10 years, until he closed his doors, for a time, because of high fuel and fertilizer costs.
“People weren’t happy,” he said. “But what else could I do? It just wasn’t profitable. We made it work and came back the next year. People were happy.”
Troutman’s business is one of dozens in Erie County and the surrounding area that offer a wide range of produce, specifically autumn-oriented items like pumpkins. JR’s Produce Stand sells pumpkins as large as 40 pounds and as small as the 4-pound goosebump. “Everyone asks for them,” he said.
New this year is the knucklehead brand of pumpkins, which range in size from 18 –20 pounds.
Troutman said this past summer’s drought has not adversely affected his crop, though he does irrigate, most years. “From what I’m hearing, the crops are good,” he said. “Pumpkins are a little more resilient than other crops.”
The “city folk,” as Troutman called them, visit the Southtowns every year, during the first and second week of October, to stock up on fall produce. He advised potential customers to come early, to get the best selection.
The family farm in Dayton, which spans 41 acres, was purchased in 1937 by Troutman’s grandfather. Troutman’s father operated a dairy farm at that location before he offered it to Ray’s sister, who turned it down.
“He asked me what I was going to do with it and I told him, ‘a pumpkin patch,’” Troutman said. “He scratched his head. Through the years, we’ve managed quite well. We keep our hands full.”
JR’s Produce Stand is located at 9209 Route 62 in Dayton.
As a fresh market vegetable crop for New York producers, pumpkins are in the top five vegetable crops, in terms of monetary value, according to a study performed by Cornell University. Few are consumed; instead, they are used for decorative purposes.
Residents can find numerous places to purchase pumpkins, throughout the local area. Below is a sample of the locations where people can find these seasonal offerings.
– Wendel’s Barbecue pumpkin patch is located at 12466 Vaughn St. in East Concord. For more information, call 592-2299 or visit www.wendelspoultry.com.
– Awald’s Berry Farm, 2195 Shirley Road, North Collins. Several sizes of pumpkins are grown at this location, from the 6-ounce Jack-Be-Littles to the 400-pound Atlantic giants. In addition, 100 – 200-pound Burpee prizewinners are also available.
– The Great Pumpkin Farm is located at 11199 Main St. in Clarence. Pumpkins are for sale and a corn maze, straw or hay bale maze, a child-sized hay bale maze, hay rides, and several other activities are available.
– Pumpkinville, a 200-acre farm near Ellicottville, offers a cider mill and other attractions. It spans 25 acres and includes a corn maze and pumpkin patch. It is open every day from 9 a.m. – 7 p.m. through Oct. 31. Pumpkinville is located at 4844 Sugartown Road, Great Valley.
More patches can be found at www.pumpkinpatchesandmore.org.