The harvest for Cal Poly Pomona’s 23rd Annual Pumpkin Festival on Oct. 17-18 has begun. For the next three weeks, pumpkins will be harvested at the university’s 40-acre pumpkin patch in Chino.
Chad Cleveland, Westwind Ranch farm manager, planted 13 varieties of pumpkins for their various characteristics, such as disease resistance, size and vine vs. bush growing style. Pumpkins take about 100 days to mature, and the fields were planted just after the fourth of July.
“We targeted your typical carving pumpkin,” says Cleveland. “The varieties selected naturally produce multiple sizes of fruit, with most in the typical jack-o’-lantern size range. There are a few varieties that do achieve a larger than normal pumpkin, and I did grow a few of those just to see what they would do.”
The result is a field of 70,000 pumpkins that will need 50 semi-trucks to transport them to the festival site at Cal Poly Pomona. While most are traditional jack-o’-lantern sized, the larger ones are 25-30 pounds and destined for the Farm Store. The pumpkin patch also has smaller varieties, perfect for smaller hands to carry.
Admission to the festival is $4 for adults, $2 for children (3-12, and free for children under 2). Most pumpkins will cost $5 each at the festival. For information on this year’s Pumpkin Festival, visit www.pumpkinfestival.cpp.edu. Last year’s Pumpkin Festival drew 80,000 campus and community members.