The temperature has begun to drop and the leaves are just beginning to change colors. Fall is here and Jones Family Farm is welcoming the season by putting on its annual pumpkin display at Pumpkin Seed Hill in Shelton.
Facilities & Infrastructure Manager at Jones Family Farms Tom Harbinson said the theme for this year’s display is America the Beautiful and was inspired by the poem written by Katharine Lee Bates.
Harbinson explained that the farm staff chose this year’s theme as a way to highlight the country’s agriculture and national parks.
“The conversations we had where we discussed possible themes was resolved by the America the Beautiful theme,” said Harbinson.
He added that in the midst of rotating the farm’s crops to prevent depleting the soil, the staff helped to assemble displays that commemorate lines or stanzas from the original poem.
On Thursday, Sept. 21 the farm celebrated opening day of its display and children could be seen taking photos in front of its version of “purple mountains” or its mural of “alabaster cities gleaming.”
“We want to inspire children to be imaginative because these days a lot of kids are on their iPads or watching TV and here’s a great outdoor setting where kids can get off their phones and learn a little bit,” said Harbinson. “This is the earliest we’ve ever opened the display, but with a lot of people having the day off because of the Jewish holiday, Rosh Hashanah, we got a great turnout.”
In addition to the consistent theme the farm staff implemented for this year’s display, they also included an educational aspect for kids while their parents shop for pumpkins or other seasonal produce.
“We took the opportunity to teach the kids something while they also are having fun and families are picking their pumpkins,” said Harbinson as he pointed to a sign in front of a patch of 100- pound pumpkins for sale. “Here, we tell kids exactly how we’re growing these large pumpkins right here on our farm. We dry the seeds for one week, store them in a cold, dry place and then plant them in June.”
Harbinson said although the largest pumpkins available, although not practical for normal transportation, are a popular attraction. He added that there hundreds of species of pumpkins that are differentiated by size, shape, length of its stem, the depth of its ridges and many more characteristics. The price of each pumpkin is determined by their height and circumference, not weight.
Some species have longer lifespans than others, so Harbinson advised those looking to buy pumpkins early for Halloween this year to check with a staff member to assure that it will still be healthy come late October.
For the fall, Harbinson said the farm holds hayrides every day and are open daily from 10 a.m. until 5:30 p.m. Jones Family Farm pumpkins are only available at the Pumpkin Hill Seed Farm located at 120 Beardsley Rd.
Anyone planning to visit the farm can call the Crop Report at 203-929-8425 to learn about any delayed openings, specials or the message of the day.