Ha. We all remember reading about Linus sitting in the pumpkin patch waiting for the Great Pumpkin to rise. Ah, nothing more nostalgic than old Peanuts comic strips.
But, no, you won't find Amish kids waiting in the pumpkin patch, but you will find them working in the pumpkin patch!
One of my Amish country activities is to cruise around back-country roads in the autumn and look for fields full of flaming bright orbs. If you see such a sight, you've stumbled upon an Amish pumpkin farm. Go late enough in the season, during harvest time, and you'll likely see a horse-drawn wagon going through the fields. Teenage boys and girls will pick the plump pumpkins and toss them up to younger siblings in the wagon who secure the pumpkins and clean off any dirt. It's hard work, but a true family effort. I've seen such scenes many times.
❓ What Varieties of Pumpkin Do the Amish Grow?
There is no set variety. A lot depends on local climate, soil, and demand, but here are a few of the more popular ones:
Amish Pie Pumpkin: This is the most popular variety grown by the Amish. It is a large, heirloom variety that is well-suited for making pies. The flesh is thick, sweet, and moist, and the skin is a pale orange with light speckling. These behemoths can sometimes weigh in at 90 pounds! Those land on the Amish wagon with a huge thud if someone doesn't manage to catch it.
Sugar Pie Pumpkin: This variety is also a good choice for pies. It is smaller than the Amish Pie Pumpkin, but it has a sweeter flavor. The flesh is also thick and moist. Many people think these are better pie pumpkins than the larger ones.
Jack-O'-Lantern Pumpkin: This variety is the most popular choice for carving jack-o'-lanterns. It has a large, round shape and a bright orange color. The flesh is not as thick as some other varieties, but it is still edible. The Amish generally are not ones to carve jack-o-lanterns, but they are good entrepreneurs and these pumpkins sell well so you'll see some Amish growing these.
🎃 Are Pumpkins a Profitable Crop?
Amish farmers also sell pumpkins at roadside stands, farmers markets or at produce auctions. There's a relatively narrow window of time to sell pumpkins, October being the peak season, so there's not a lot of room for error.
But Amish grow pumpkins for a variety of reasons. First, pumpkins are a relatively easy crop to grow, and they can be grown in a variety of soil conditions. Second, pumpkins are a good source of food for both humans and animals. Third, pumpkins can be used to make a variety of products, such as pies, breads, and decorations.
The Amish typically grow pumpkins using traditional methods, such as hand-planting and hand-watering. They also use horse-drawn equipment to plow and harvest the pumpkins. This helps to preserve the Amish way of life and their connection to the land. Pumpkin growing and harvesting is a great family endeavor.
📷 Pictures of Pumpkins
Amish farms in Ohio feature a lot of pumpkins. I love the above photo and I pull it out of storage every year about this time!
🥧 How Do The Amish Use Pumpkins?
Pumpkin is a very versatile fruit. Yes, a pumpkin is technically a fruit. I have seen Amish cooks home-can pumpkin. Fresh home-canned pumpkin is a little lighter looking than the cans of Libby's you buy in the supermarket. Some of the favorite ways the Amish use pumpkin include:
🙋 FAQ Amish & Pumpkins
Halloween is not generally observed by the Amish, so carving jack-o-lanterns isn't a common activity. Pumpkins will, however, be used as a decorative item in Amish homes such as a table centerpiece.
Pumpkin pie is probably the favored use, but pumpkin is used in many dishes by creative Amish cooks!