Wednesday, October 29, 2014

The Great Pumpkin

Check this out!

Look at all the  PUMPKINS!

Yesterday, we were on our annual pilgrimage to Nelson County (more about that in Sunday’s post) when we came across this huge field….full of pumpkins.

Did I say it was HUGE?

…and FULL of pumpkins?

We had never seen so many pumpkins.  They stretched on as far as the eye could see.  Off in the distance, I could see a tractor driving along.  It looked like a toy it was so far away, and yes, it was surrounded by PUMPKINS.

That got me thinking about just how many pumpkins are used in the US this time of year. If this one small farm had so many pumpkins…there are pumpkins at farmers’ markets and home centers, roadside stands and convenience stores…jack-o-lanterns, fall decorations and pumpkin flavored everything…

So, just how many must be produced each year?

Here are a few facts about pumpkin production in the US. Facts from Ag MRC. Check this link.

In 2012, nearly 12.4 MILLION cwt of pumpkins were harvested in the United States. CWT means hundred weight…so, multiply 12.4 million by 100. 

That equals 1.24 BILLION pounds! (of pumpkins...just pumpkins) 

That’s a WHOLE LOT OF PUMPKINS! I don’t know about you, but that’s beyond my comprehension.

There were 47,800 acres of farmland in PUMPKIN production in 2012.

The 2012 pumpkin crop was valued at $148.9 million dollars. (this is tiny when compared to grain crops)

The vast majority of these pumpkins are processed canned pumpkin and canned pie mix. 

Morton, Illinois is the self-proclaimed Pumpkin Capital of the world.  This is where Libby’s pumpkin processing plant is located and they can over 85% of the world’s pumpkin every year.

Top production states are Illinois, California, Ohio, Pennsylvania, New York and Michigan.  Since Virginia isn’t on that list, now I’m wondering just how big those other pumpkin farms must be.

Pumpkin is good for you, too.

 Here are some nutrition facts from the University of Illinois about pumpkins.

The bright orange color of pumpkin is a dead giveaway that pumpkin is loaded with an important antioxidant, beta-carotene. Beta-carotene is one of the plant carotenoids converted to vitamin A in the body. In the conversion to vitamin A, beta carotene performs many important functions in overall health.
Current research indicates that a diet rich in foods containing beta-carotene may reduce the risk of developing certain types of cancer and offers protect against heart disease. Beta-carotene offers protection against other diseases as well as some degenerative aspects of aging.

Pumpkin Nutrition Facts
(1 cup cooked, boiled, drained, without salt)
Calories 49
Protein 2 grams
Carbohydrate 12 grams
Dietary Fiber 3 grams
Calcium 37 mg
Iron 1.4 mg
Magnesium 22 mg
Potassium 564 mg
Zinc 1 mg
Selenium .50 mg
Vitamin C 12 mg
Niacin 1 mg
Folate 21 mcg
Vitamin A 2650 IU
Vitamin E 3 mg

Let's hear it for the Great Pumpkin!


  1. Hey Barbara,
    Can I eat my jack-o-lantern once it has been lit for a day or three?

    1. Only if you like the smokey undertones of old wax in your pumpkin pie! lol
      Seriously, I can't imagine it would be too tasty and personally I'd be a little concerned about "food safety issues" after it set out for a while and had a candle inside. But, that's just me.

  2. We always have a hollowed out pumpkin with a face cut out of it, because it is my birthday on Hallowe#en
    and we leave it burning in the front garden to celebrate the fact. But we rarely, if ever, eat pumpkin. It always seems so very tasteless.

    1. What an interesting way to commemorate your birthday! I agree with you that pumpkin is fairly tasteless. But, plenty of spices and sugar, it's delicious.

  3. Have heard there is a difference between PIE pumpkin and those grown for carving. But someone said to me she makes pumpkin brownies out of the jack-o-lantern kind. I had a taste and they were FABULOSO!

    1. For the most part, all winter squash and pumpkins can be used interchangeably. However, there is a fair amount of difference in flavor and consistency. ("pie" pumpkins tend to be somewhat sweeter and more dense) I imagine that pumpkin brownies are most delicious. (but, then, I've never met a brownie I didn't