Community column: Pumpkin patch visitors show serious intentions
We’re in the peak of pumpkin picking season, and a recent visit to Sinkland Farms afforded a look at the process from a number of experts — kindergartners from Kipps Elementary and preschoolers from Unity Christian in Radford.
Over the past few years, Sinkland Farms has created the ultimate experience in gourd hunting.
Classes burst forth from their buses into a setting where exploration and enthusiasm are encouraged.
After a quick photo-op for caretakers and teachers at a straw bale stage, students climb into wagons for the ride back to the kids’ patch.
Authentic John Deeres power along the precious cargo — a detail Joshua Wheeler pointed out to his fellow preschoolers.
He reminded me how particular and perceptive 4-year-olds can be, especially on critical subjects like tractors and holidays.
I used the drive time to interrogate my new-found pundits: What would qualify as the perfect pumpkin?
Is there such thing as a perfect pumpkin?
And, what did they expect to do with their treasures?
A quick poll revealed that most of the kindergartners were looking for something round and orange.
Not contrarians Jack Howland and Bobby Galitz, who were on the hunt for the unique and different: square pumpkins.
Explaining that they had heard of a triangular pumpkin from a book in school, they decided to build upon the theme and look for something with even more angles and sides.
These two adopted a comic approach to everything — plunging into the patch with expressive vigor, assessing numerous prospects, and pointing out with profound earnestness (or extreme tomfoolery) that their selections were “almost square.”
Ellie Bonadeo intended to find a “huge one” and would be converting it to a jack-o’-lantern. I had to admire her classic approach.
Friend Dixie Reaves looked forward to painting hers in rainbow colors, which Ellie agreed would be a great idea.
This was a recurring theme; others mentioned similar plans. A passing parent clarified for me that rainbows are big right now with the class of 2025.
Elizabeth Bewick already has two jack-o’-lanterns at home, including one that looks like a cat. She prefers a happy face to scary grimace.
Reagan Bryant relished the idea of a small, orange pumpkin.
She found something like it before even hitting the official kids’ patch.
It is interesting to see what features can sway a selection.
Preschooler Kayleigh Jones insisted that she was guided by the shape of the stem, while Meeha Kumar, from Kipps, liked hers because it weighed a lot.
Classmate Chloe Lobello supplied a range of reasons: “Because it was big, and really good, and pretty.”
Abby Castleberry had an interesting focus, looking for “one that is 3 and a half just like me.”
It’s true that many appeared to be on the hunt for something more than fruit. (And yes, my savvy editors alerted me: pumpkins are fruit.)
But practical applications for their found bounty do persist. Many saw food as well as fun. Ainsley Stone planned to pick up a few that day, with one designated for pumpkin pie.
Amen Lahouar was hoping to produce some pumpkin soup.
Nicky Murrmann was looking forward to eating the seeds. He even offered to share his with an older brother. What a generous soul — I’m not sure I looked forward to parceling out my favorite fall treat to any of my siblings.
But the mention of this tradition summoned memories of crisp fall days back in my parents’ house, and I could almost taste the salt from this crunchy snack that came only once a year.
The entire experience recalled how quickly the season is approaching when beloved rituals, recipes and reunions help us break routine and gird against winter’s dark and chill.
Living in a swing state, it’s impossible to ignore we are in the midst of another picking season.
May we all scamper into the polls with the same vigor, enthusiasm and discernment I witnessed that day at Sinkland. First, because we should be infinitely joyful for the privilege of voting.
Second, because exercising our right to vote allows us to protect our democracy. There’s a lot more than big gourds at stake here.
Learn more about Sinkland Farms in Riner at www.sinklandfarms.com.
By Catherine Van Noy
Special to The Burgs | 639-3330
No Comments »
No comments yet.