Which kind of pumpkin would you rather buy: 'Baby Bear,' 'Prize Winner,' 'Cinderella' or 'Howdy Biggie'? Evelyn Lacina, owner of Butternut Farm, says a lot of people pick the 'Howdy Biggie' pumpkin for its thick stem and dark orange color and because it is deeply ribbed.
Every year, Butternut Farm is transformed into "Pumpkin Town, U.S.A" on Oct. 1. Many community members and students have fond memories of picking their pumpkins at Butternut Farm. "Our customers come back every year," Lacina said.
One memorable event that Lacina described was "last Fall [when a married couple] came back on the anniversary of their engagement. He had proposed to her in Pumpkin Town."
You don't have to wait until Halloween to buy your pumpkin or go trick or treating. "We start trick or treating early in pumpkin season ... if people are looking for pumpkins, we have a piece of candy for them."
Butternut Farm grows 15 varieties of pumpkins, which people begin to buy in early September. Lacina said that as people clean their houses in the Fall, "sometimes they want a spot of orange in their house. People like orange in their house."
Pumpkin varieties range from the tiny 'Baby Bear' to the oversized, deep orange 'Prize Winner'. 'Cinderella' is shaped like its namesake's famous coach. The largest pumpkins tend to weigh around 160 pounds, but they're "too hard to haul," according to Lacina. 'Howdy Biggie' pumpkins run about 70 pounds.
Lacina's family has recipes for pumpkin bread, roll and pie. She had one piece of advice to give to those who aren't such pumpkin experts: "To keep your pumpkin longer, you can polish it with Pledge or Pride."
Butternut Farm, located West of Route 83 on Butternut Ridge Road, is currently in its sixth generation. Lacina's husband, Freddy Lacina, and his parents bought the farm in 1942. Evelyn Lacina said, "I learned to love it because my husband did. Now I wouldn't want to do anything else."
The Lacina's four children, as well as their grandchildren and great-grandchildren, live and work on the farm. Lacina considers their family "fortunate" and said, "we've been here so long ... We have a lot of fun."
The Lacinas used to sell their sweet corn and assorted vegetables at the Cleveland market but when they opened up a stand on their own property, they named it Butternut Farm. The stand is open from July 15 to Nov. 1 "when the North wind gets cold," according to Lacina.
Pumpkins are planted on May 31. The Lacina family farm raises the pumpkin plants from seedlings in their greenhouse. The pumpkins are then set out with a transplanter machine although the Lacinas also plant some by hand.
"The ones planted by hand survive a little better because the roots go deeper in the ground," Lacina said. "Nature takes over" the watering of the fields because there is no irrigation system. However, they must cultivate and fertilize them.
A plastic imitation: Pumpkins herald the season of ghouls and goblins, but students who want the real thing go to Butternut Farm, located west of Route 83. (photo by Laren Rusin)
Copyright © 1997, The Oberlin Review.
Volume 126, Number 7, October 31, 1997
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