The Farmer's Daughter
Our blog is written by Jennifer Shea, Dan and Cathy's oldest daughter. Jennifer is part of the 13th generation of Schoonmakers to work on Saunderskill Farm.

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All About Pumpkins
October 19, 2011

The Rondout Valley Growers Association has handed out a bunch of pumpkin facts this fall. I wanted to share them with you!

 

PUMPKINS AS A NY STATE CROP

 *  NY ranks 3rd nationally in producion of pumpkins

 *  In NY state alone, there are over 1,4000 pumpkin growers who produce about 50,000 pounds of pumpkins annually, which are valued at $25 million.

*  NY's biggest ever pumpkin wieghed 1,631 pounds and was grown in 2007

*  According to Dr. Steve Reiners, Associate Professor in Horticulture NYS Agriculture Experiment Station, "NY grows great pumpkins and for some growers a good pumpkin crop can make the difference in the farm's bottom line"

HISTORY

*  Pumpkins are believed to have originated in Central America. Seeds from related plants have been found in Mexico, dating back over 7,000 years to 5500 B.C.

*  Native American Indians used pumpkins as a staple in thier diets centuries before Pilgrims arrived. When white settlers arrived, they saw the pumpkins grown by Indians and thus, the pumpkins became a staple in their diets too. Hence, seeds were brought back to Europe, where they quickly became popular.

* Early settlers also dried the shells and cut strips to weave into mats.

* Pumpkin carving evolved, in part, from the Celtic tradition of All Hallow's Ece, although the Celtic people of Ireland originally carved turnips and rutabegas in anciant times.

NUTRITION AND BENEFITS

* Pumpkins are rich in Vitamin A and potassium, and are also very high in fiber.

* From a medicinal standpoint, pumpkins have been used for a variety of ailments: They were once recommended as a cure for freckles, used as a remedy for a snakebite and the seeds are said to help avoid prostrate cancer in men.

 

Jennifer