How we found our pumpkin supplier :) Sept. 2000

This morning started early with the last piece of my chocalate birthday cake (big 4-0 last week) and a mug of maxwell house to help screw the 'ol eyeballs into their sockets :) Having arisen from the dead I headed to the greenhouse for a quick check on ops.. I found out that Helen had taken the day to go for a trip to what Grampa called the "beauty saloon" and then a checkup at the doc's..
Bob and Judy having calmed my fears that all would fall apart without my presense, assured me that things were under control. So I grabbed the keys to the truck and headed for Oxford to pick up my birthfather and general woods buddy, Dale :)
Ahhhh, the fine smell of of diesel in the frosty morn :) Reminds me of catching the metro heading for Walnut hills back in high school :)

I arrived at the farm and found Dale, as usual, tinkering :) This time it was with a bass boat he plans to sell next spring :) After a round of coffee we hopped in his El Camino and headed out into the farmland in search of a pumpkin grower.
The previous grower we'd gotten our punkins from had quit farming to make a more profitable living driving a semi. Last year in November we'd remembered seeing a field still full of pumpkins near Trenton. Perhaps they would have some of the orange "boo" berries for sale! When we got there we found two ladies tending their produce stand who were definitly unwilling to sell pumpkins at anything other than retail.. Rats! It was still early so Dale and I ventured deeper into the realms of corn and soybeans in search of a sincere and wholesale :) punkin patch...

Our next encounter came about 15 miles down the road in the form of a large produce outlet complete with loading docks, semis, and lots of pumpkins in the grass out front.. Upon inquiry one of the ladies working the front went to the back to see if they sold wholesale or not. She came back with a price that was somewhwere between wholesale and retail. I thanked her for her time and we continued our journey. They were obviously just brokers and resellers not farmers.. I had to deal with a produce broker last year due to the drought and those guys just don't care if their bins have nice on top and stemless half rotted stuff on the bottom.. Nope, I wanted to find a farmer, a good honest person in touch with the land, who cares about his crops, and his customers the way that I do!

Another ten miles or so down the road appeared a fence line lined with corn shocks that led up to a farm complete with silos, hay barn, hog pens, a HUGE combine and best of all, punkins!

Maybe this would be the one :)

I flagged the attention of a guy about my age driving a big wheeled forklift and asked if the sold wholesale. He parked his machine and started quoting prices that were indeed right in that market. He also pointed to a truck scale and said we could load from the field and weigh out on the scale. Yes! this was what I was looking for!
We even talked "grower stuff" like mildew and insect control as realted to crop performance and making a living :)

A quick side note here...
We city dwellers need to care about the independant farmers who care for the land and care about the food we eat. If we don't support them we'll be completely at the mercy of global megacorps that care more about their bottom line than our health.
They have already engineered baccilis thuringiensis into much of the produce found on the supermarket shelves. The effects of eating this over a period of many years on the human body are unknown. Would you buy a box of B.T. and sprinkle it like seasoning on your food? I, for one, would not..
This isn't sci-fi, this is real....

I'll climb down off my soapbox now and get back to the punkin story :)

We told Mike, the farmer, that we'd be back in about an hour with the truck.. It was about 12:30 so we headed back to Dale's for a bite to eat and after a quick bite headed back out to Mike's to get loaded :) With pumpkins that is :)

When we got there Mike, his Dad and his brother Mark hopped in their pickup and Dale and I followed them in our truck several miles over to where the pumin fields were. True to fashion we turned off the paved road onto a dirt path that wound down and around, through a creek, up a hill, around a sharp bend and fianlly into the field where lay a pumkin patch that stretched well off into the distance and that Linus, Charlie Brown & the rest of the gang would have been proud of!

We pulled up to where they'd harvested last and gradually began the process of cutting and tossing the pumpkins up into the truck. Dale and I stacked the pumpkins while the Garver boys and their Dad cut and tossed them up. When an area was cleared Mike would back the truck down a ways and we'd load some more. After about and hour and half we'd packed in about all our truck would hold and headed back to the scales to weigh out. Dale asked me on the way how much I thought we had on and I said it felt like about 2 1/2 ton as we splooshed through the creek and slowly climbed the dirt path out of the bottom back out to the main road. We weighed out at 4800 lbs so I wasn't too far off :) I thought to myself "not bad for a city farmer" hehe..

By the time we got back to Dale's it was supper time and Pat (my birthmother) fixed us some coneys.

Dale went back to his boat tinkering and I dozed off on the couch knowing that 'til I drove back with day's booty, did some needed paperwork in the office and got this letter out it'd be late.

So, here it is 1:00 am and I am ready for bed!

That's the story of how the punkins got to Funke's :)

'til next time,

May the great pumpkin shower you with treats and "boo" tiful gardens!