Halloween pumpkin’s beauty is in the eye of the beholder

October 18, 2011

By Christina Lords

Picking perfect jack-o’-lantern comes down to preference

Glenn Dutro hoists a pumpkin on his shoulder in the u-pick pumpkin patch at the Trinity Tree Farm in Issaquah. Photo By Greg Farrar

About 50,000 pounds of pumpkins dot the landscape as far as the eye can see.

There are oblong gourds with ample, flat surface areas for carving.

Others are rotund, boasting a sturdy stem and a thick, perfect shell.

Glenn Dutro, who has offered families a chance to pick their own pumpkins for the past three years at the u-pick pumpkin patch at the Trinity Tree Farm near Issaquah, wants something else out of his Halloween pumpkin entirely.

“The perfect pumpkin is all just a matter of personal preference,” he said. “Most people want a big, bright, beautiful thing. I want one with scars on it. I want it messed up and nasty.”

Ken Allison, a produce manager for PCC Natural Markets, said the perfect pumpkin is all in the eye of the beholder.

“It’s all in a person’s aesthetic judgment,” he said. “Typically, what I look for to carve or to sell is the stem to be attached still. That way you know it’s not knocked or kicked around. You want the pumpkin to feel firm so it won’t rot and collapse right away.”

Customers typically like their perfect pumpkin to be bright orange for dark fall days, Allison said.

Children usually go for a pumpkin as big as they can carry, while parents tend to be a little more conservative while picking out their perfect pumpkin, Dutro said.

Pumpkins at the u-pick patch range from hand-held mini pumpkins to whoppers weighing in at 45 pounds.

There’s only one determining factor to how long it takes to find a pumpkin, Dutro said.

If you go

Halloween pumpkin picking

  • Trinity Tree Farm
  • 14237 228th Ave. S.E.
  • 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday until Oct. 30
  • www.trinitytreefarm.com

“It all depends on the weather,” he said. “If it’s raining, they go to the first patch they see and they can be there five minutes. If the sun’s out, they’ll be here for hours.”

Dutro and Allison agreed that if a customer is looking for the perfect baking pumpkin for holiday treats, a large jack-o’-lantern type pumpkin is not the way to go.

“The first mistake people make is they pick too big of a pumpkin, which ends up making it a huge project when it doesn’t need to be,” Allison said. “What they need is a sugar pie pumpkin, which is about the size of a 16-inch softball. Do get a pumpkin for what you need.”

Sugar pie pumpkins are good alternatives for pies, soups, muffins and breads. They’re dense with fewer seeds and strings inside the gourd, he said.

The u-pick patch will host about 25 classes for school tours and also takes reservations for birthday parties.

Customers can go on a hayride or sit around a bonfire located on site. Concessions and a gift shop are available.

The patch is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday of each week until Oct. 30.

“We really believe picking out a pumpkin can be a day-long event,” he said. “It doesn’t have to be something you just throw in your shopping cart and call it good.”

Christina Lords: 392-6434, ext. 239, or newcastle@isspress.com. Comment at www.issaquahpress.com.

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