Pumpkin picking, an American tradition, at The Happy Lil’ Pumpkin in Peralta

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For thousands of American children, the annual trip to the pumpkin patch to pick out the ideal Jack-O-Lantern-to-be or punkin’-pie-in-progress is tradition.

 

Ungelbah Daniel-Davila-News-Bulletin photo: Chris Gardner holds down the farm at The Happy Lil’ Pumpkin, a four-acre pumpkin patch and local produce stand in Peralta.

Previously, local families might have had to travel to the 85-acre pumpkin patch at Ness Farms in Estancia to choose their pumpkin, but this year, people can stay a little closer to home and put that saved gas money somewhere else, like into some delicious winter squash or pinto beans to see them through the cold months.

Since August, Ness Farms has set up shop in Peralta with their open air farmers market produce stand and four-acre pumpkin patch, The Happy Lil’ Pumpkin.

The stand is nestled along N.M. 47 and the address number is 3517, but you’ll know you’re there when you spot a star burst of fiery golden colors beckoning you into an autumn wonderland.

A green, vintage farm truck stands parked along the field, while a cornucopia of gleaming orange pumpkins and varied winter squash and gourds rest on bales of straw in front of a petite red and white building that is fringed with dried, multi colored corn.

Inside, managing partner Chris Gardner holds down the farm.

“It’s a great local business,” Gardner says. “We purchase produce from the local growers and buy stuff from people’s gardens here in town.”

Aside from the produce that is brought in from the mother farm in Estancia, Gardner said he estimates he has probably bought produce from 30 different local gardeners since the business opened two months ago.

Gardner said the produce stand provides a great way for the community to get to know each other as well as a way for local growers to make a living.

As for the pumpkin patch, he said the best part about it is watching the kids come and pick out their pumpkin.

Choosing the perfect pumpkin takes careful consideration and is not something one should do hastily, as any seasoned pumpkin hunter will tell you.

The Happy Lil’ Pumpkin grows five different types of pumpkins in its patch to offer a variety of shapes and sizes to accommodate all you’re desired Jack-O-Lantern designs.

When choosing a pumpkin, www.pumpkin-patch.com advises going for one that is all the same color and free of scratches, dents or gouges as well as being careful not to carry it by the stem in case it should break off.

The Happy Lil Pumpkin will be open until Tuesday, Nov. 1, and currently has Estancia beans and all the winter squashes, including acorn, butternut and spaghetti.

Also in stock are a colorful array of ornamental gourds and dried corn on the cob that makes festive wreaths or excellent, healthy popcorn just by shucking off the kernels into a paper bag and popping it in the microwave.

 


Contact Ungelbah Daniel-Davila