Pumpkin Patch Opens At Chaffee
Sep 30, 2012 (Menafn - Times Record - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) --Nothing says fall quite like a pumpkin.
Whether it's a tiny, decorative gourd adorning a fireplace hearth or an intricately carved specimen for Halloween or several large, plump orange-hued spheres paired with hay bales and dried corn stalks for an autumn lawn decoration, the pumpkin can take us from early fall into Thanksgiving.
And a new pumpkin patch has popped up this year at Chaffee Crossing.
At the intersection of Taylor Avenue and Terry Street in the area's historic district, the Pumpkin Patch at Chaffee Crossing will be the perfect stop to pick up pumpkins after visiting the three haunted houses in Chaffee Crossing, according to Stephanie Malone, marketing director for Chaffee Crossing.
"We're really excited to see how it goes this year," Malone said of the patch, which will be a walk-through patch with pumpkins of all sizes where customers will pick their own pumpkins.
The idea was conceived during a brainstorming staff meeting for ideas to help make Chaffee Crossing a fall destination to tie in with other tenants there, including the Fort Smith Boys & Girls Club Haunted Warehouse, the Fort Smith Jaycees Haunted Ward and the Haunted Prison.
"We're looking at hopefully making Chaffee Crossing a destination place in October," said Malone, adding that the Fort Chaffee Redevelopment Authority has been working with Cre8ive Arts Network to plan a Chaffee Crossing Art-illery Festival next October. "It would be an arts and crafts festival similar to War Eagle."
With the collaboration of FCRA staff, several tenants and the Sebastian County Extension Office, the pumpkin patch has been maintained by FCRA staff.
Dustin Blakey, county extension agent, assisted the FCRA with selecting seeds, along with how and when to plant them for optimum harvest during October, Malone said.
Families and youngsters will be able to pick their own pumpkin for the holiday on weekends beginning Oct. 12; hours will be 5-8 p.m. Fridays, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and 5-8 p.m. Saturdays and 2-6 p.m. Sundays. A special event with face painting, pumpkin painting and carving with Cre8ive Arts Network will take place Oct. 27, and Halloween day hours will be from 5-9 p.m.
Prices for pumpkins range from 1 for the smaller decorative gourds to 5 for larger pumpkins. Proceeds will benefit the Chaffee Crossing Historic District.
For information, call 434-6774 or visit chaffeecrossing.com.
How to Select the Perfect Pumpkin:
--Select a pumpkin that is completely orange. A partially green pumpkin might not ripen any further.
--Size is an important factor. Medium pumpkins are best for pumpkin carving. Small pumpkins are better for cooking.
--Do not pick a pumpkin that is too big to carry.
--Does the shade of orange matter? If so, there are hundreds of varieties, some with different shades of orange.
--Selecting the shape is a matter of personal preference. Some like 'em tall. Others, like 'em round.
--Often, people select shapes to fit the carving patterns they will use. Pick a pattern before selecting a pumpkin.
--Do not lift or carry a pumpkin by its stem. The pumpkin stem gives it character.
--A ripe pumpkin has a hard shell that does not dent or scratch easily when pressing on it with a thumbnail. Do this on the back or bottom of the fruit -- never on the face.
--Examine the entire pumpkin carefully for soft spots. If ae soft spot is found, go on to the next pumpkin.
--Check the pumpkin for cracks and splits. If one is found, examine it to be sure it is not turning into a soft spot or has mold inside it.
--Look for bugs and insects. Specifically, look for holes in the pumpkin, which are indicative of insect problems.
Inside a pumpkin patch picking a pumpkin:
--Bring a small wagon, which makes it easier to haul tired children and pumpkins.
--Wear boots or old sneakers. It could be wet and muddy in the pumpkin patch.
--Pick a pumpkin that can easily be carried.
--If smaller children are carrying pumpkins, pick smaller pumpkins. Remember those little arms will probably get tired before reaching the car.
--Bring a sharp knife or pruner.
--Cut the vine on either side of the stem. Once home, trim the remaining pieces of vine and cut the stem at the perfect spot.
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