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Stories from the valley

Annual Search for my “Great Pumpkin”

Contributed by Steve Beckley

This time of year, I start searching for my Great Pumpkin in the Sacramento Valley.  I limited my search to Butte, Colusa and Glenn Counties because that is what I consider my stomping grounds.

old photo of man standing next to pickup truck full of pumpkins

Pumpkins are important to me, as my late parents, Ralph and Ophelia Beckley, had a large patch at their farm in Grimes.  They made sure that each of students at Grand Island Elementary got a pumpkin each year and sold a few.  Their grandchildren enjoyed visiting them and getting their pumpkins. 

old photo of three children sitting in pumpkin patch

Pictured are my son Sean, and my nephews Nick and Mike Charter in the family pumpkin patch many years ago, or as I like to call it a lawyer and two farmers.  I even hauled some of the pumpkins to Chico State when I was going to college and sold them for beverage money.  Also, it was a good way to impress young ladies by giving them a pumpkin. 

woman holding pumpkin

 I started searching early this year and went up to the Douglas Ranch in Orland, where Shannon, Kelly, and their son Heath are growing pumpkins in their young orchard.  They are now selling the pumpkins in downtown Orland.   Also, a couple of weeks ago, I stopped by the Arbuckle Pumpkin Festival where many of the area folks bought their pumpkins while social distancing and wearing masks.

Then last Saturday, I went up to Arbuckle and checked out Wise Acre Farm, and then continued up to Peterson Sister’s Pumpkin Patch in Chico.  Wise Acre Farm is a self service stand, while Peterson Sisters is a large pumpkin patch with lots of activities.  

young woman working at pumpkin patch

Did I find the “Great Pumpkin”?  Not sure, but I really found some good imposters.  If you haven’t yet found your Great Pumpkin, I hope you will check out the local pumpkin patches, roadside stands and farmers markets.  There are a lot of pumpkins out there that still need a good home.