The Great Pumpkin has arrived and it is located at Hydro Harvest Farms in Ruskin. Hopefully, Linus [of Charlie Brown fame] isn’t in the readership, because it did not fly in wearing a cape, but rather it was brought in on the back of a truck and put into place via a forklift.
The Great Pumpkin weighs in at a hefty 400 pounds.
It is part of the annual “Pumpkin Patch” at the hydroponic farm on East Shell Point Road in Ruskin. For the month of October, the pumpkin patch is free for families to visit and to take photographs, and pumpkins, along with other fresh vegetables and farm-made jarred goods are for sale.
John Lawson, who owns Hydro Harvest Farms along with his wife Terrie, left South Carolina with the enormous gourd, along with a supply of strawberry roots, only a few days before the major flooding began that devastated a large swath of that state. Terrie worries what may have happened to the farms John visited since the flooding.
But back here in Ruskin, the farm is geared up for Halloween.
“We’re open late on Fridays in October,” Terrie said. “The pumpkin patch is free to visit and to take photos. We also have pre-schoolers, schoolchildren and Scouts coming out to visit. On one day alone we’ll have a hundred kids come out. They’ll all get strawberry shortcakes and pumpkins.”
The farm’s annual (and free!) Halloween festival will take place Saturday, Oct. 24, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. It is an event for the entire family.
“On the Saturday before Halloween, we hold the Boofest Party,” she continued. “There will be painting, crafts and games. Each child will get a pumpkin to decorate.”
As for what will become of the Great Pumpkin after Halloween, Terrie Lawson wasn’t certain.
“Maybe we’ll find a zoo with an animal big enough for a 400-pound pumpkin!” she retorted.
Hydro Harvest Farms is at 1101 East Shell Point Road in Ruskin. The establishment includes both a U-Pick farm and a farm stand, along with the impressive and large seasonal pumpkin patch. The farm is open daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., later on Fridays and on Sunday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.
The farm also provides a monthly email newsletter that contains information about upcoming events and occasional coupons for discounts at the farm. To sign up or for more information, visit www.hydroharvestfarms.com.