(NEAR SHELDON, IA) - Fall is just around the corner and the pumpkin-selling season has already begun. Sue Loring and her husband Bruce own Hawk Valley Garden.
If you'd told Sue Loring 10 years ago she'd be making a profit on pumpkins, she probably wouldn't have believed you. But now, this time of year, the Lorings surround themselves with pumpkins of all kinds.
"That's part of the fun of it is seeing all the different shapes, sizes, colors," said Bruce Loring.
Hawk Valley Garden didn't start that way. The family was trying to sell fresh produce.
"We had extra room and we went literally and bought a couple dollar bags of seeds from Bomgaars, threw them in and they went everywhere," said Sue Loring.
"We had a little pile of pumpkins there and they were gone in five minutes," said Bruce.
If there's anything in the fall business, the Lorings grow it.
"I don't think some of them even have a clue there's this many varieties. You know, everybody has an ordinary pumpkin sitting at any discount store," said Sue. "And you come here. You get the whole experience of an old time pumpkin patch."
The Lorings grow more than 150 varieties of pumpkins here at the Hawk Valley Garden. They have one that weighs 600 pounds.
"This is one hill of pumpkins right here. This entire, it's about 50 by 50," described Sue.
As for this year's drought, their pumpkins are thriving.
"Pumpkins like heat. Pumpkins, gourds, squash. They thrive by heat in that little bit of water. We had two rains this summer that were just perfect," said Sue. "And then, the little bit of watering we had to do. So we're having our best crop we've ever had."
A crop the entire family pitches in to pick and decorate. Including Liz, the Lorings' 22–year–old daughter.
"We spend a lot of time out here. Just working I guess. Dealing with everybody else that stops and just trying to have a good time with it. Otherwise, it wouldn't be that much fun," said Liz Loring.
"Liz is my partner this time of year. She does just as much as me if not more. And my husband, he just picks and picks and picks. And that's all he wants to do," said Sue.
"That's the favorite or the best part about it after it all grows. You get to pick it," said Bruce.
Now is the prime time for picking. A job the Lorings take on one pumpkin at a time.
"They are easy to grow. They're fun. A lot of work, but I love work. You know, you have to do it," said Sue.
They've pulled more pumpkins out the first week of September than ever before. Sue said they'll probably keep picking until October 1.
Main Phone: 712-277-3554