The search for the perfect pumpkin

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    By Briana Morgan

    Jessica Taggart, a Spanish major from Cody, Wyo., likes to carve pumpkins but is not very artistic so prefers to cook them.

    “An article I read said a pumpkin that is small and round is the best flavored pumpkin,” Taggart said.

    For Taggart, shape, size, and color are important factors when baking pumpkin muffins, pies, and bread.

    Like Taggart, residents of Provo are scouring local grocery stores, farms and stands in search of the perfect pumpkin. However, unlike Taggart, most residents use their pumpkins for carving rather than cooking.

    Kent Grace, produce manager at Albertson”s grocery store in Provo, said the majority of pumpkins sold at his store are used for Halloween jack-o-lanterns.

    “In fact, we won”t even carry them after Halloween,” Grace said.

    Grace said while Albertson”s has received many pumpkins from farms in Payson and Santaquin he was not aware of the exact amount of pumpkins the store has received.

    “It is all done by weight,” Grace said. “Each load that I bring in weighs anywhere from 10-12 thousand pounds.”

    A supplier of pumpkins, Kathleen Hansen with Hansen plants, said because there is a large supply of pumpkins, they can be difficult to grow. She said they require regular amounts of water and must be planted by hand. Hansen said after the plants grow and the pumpkins develop to their signature orange color, the green plant shrivels away.

    “One day you have got a beautiful green field,” Hansen said. “In the about the next two days you have pumpkins sitting there.”

    When the pumpkins are ready to harvest, Hansen Farms loads the pumpkins into trailers by hand. The pumpkins are then delivered to Grocery stores, floral stores and street stands.

    In order to meet the demand for pumpkins during the Halloween season, Fenton Finch, owner of Finch Farms in Provo, used 20 acres of his land to grow pumpkins. Finch said he has 600 tons of pumpkins people can choose from to find their ideal.

    “I”ve got sheds full of pumpkins,” Finch said. “There is one shed that is 120 feet long and 32 feet wide that is full of pumpkins.”

    All of the excitement associated with pumpkin-centered activities culminates on Halloween, October 31. After this time, the demand for the orange gourd will decrease dramatically.

    “It”s all over after Halloween,” Finch said.

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