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Stories from the valley

Searching for the “Great Pumpkin”

Contributed by Steve Beckley

Pumpkins have always had a special significance for me.   The appearance of pumpkins means the hot summer is over, fall is on its way, rice harvest is underway and Halloween candy is on sale. But the most important reason are the great memories I have of my late parents, Ralph and Ophelia Beckley’s large pumpkin patch at their farm in Grimes. They made sure that every student at Grand Island Elementary got a pumpkin each year and they sold a few. I even hauled some of their pumpkins to Chico 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.

This year I decided to go search for my Great Pumpkin in the Sacramento Valley. I should note that everybody’s “Great Pumpkin” is different. It may be big, small, a different shape or surface and various colors. My search took me to Douglas Farms in Orland, Arbuckle Pumpkin Festival, Chico Farmers Market, Broken Oak Acres in Glenn, a private residence in Colusa and many other places.

Did I find the “Great Pumpkin”? Not sure but I really found some good imposters. There are also so many more places I need to still check out such as Bishop’s Pumpkin Ranch, Wheatland, Bobby Dazzlers Pumpkin Patch, Woodland, Wise Acre Farm, Arbuckle  and Colusa Pumpkin Village. Also all the farmers markets and roadside produce stands located throughout the valley.