You may be asking yourself, “What is this blog all about”?
Tradition would be the answer. I need to go into a bit of Erickson Ranch Pumpkin Patch history for the story to make any sense. Many years ago our neighbor at the time, Don Angle, had a Giant” Big Mac” pumpkin patch around the corner from Erickson Ranch. We grew the fruit and vegetables and Don grew the Big Mac pumpkins. I wonder, if at the time, we had an unwritten or unspoken agreement that we wouldn’t “interfere” with each others business and instead we became mutually beneficial partners in the Agr-itourism business. Of course, you must understand I don’t think the term Agri-tourism was part of farm lingo at the time as it is today. Needless to say, Don cultivated a following of pumpkin hunters that made the yearly trek to Suisun Valley during Fall Harvest, to fill their wagons with their coveted Big Mac pumpkin. Autumn is by far the most beautiful season in Suisun Valley. An outing to our valley became, for many families, an exciting adventure as they prepared for Halloween. Once the kids and pumpkins were rounded up and loaded in the car the families continued to the Ranch to load up on the Autumn’s bounty of fruit and vegetables. Little did we know that one of those young families belonged to Lillian and Nancy.
Years pass, as they have a habit of doing, and unfortunately so did our friend Don. He was a lovely man and his memory remains with us each time a giant pumpkin is hoisted onto the scale. Tradition and history had been established and now it was time to carry on the history and make new tradition. That was done with the help of Lillian, Nancy, their families and friends. The annual Giant Pumpkin Story began when we all decided (unknown to us at the time) that the families would move down the road a bit to Erickson Ranch. For years the gathering was small, but as the their children grew so to did the size of those attending. This year there were even 4 generations of pumpkin gatherers! What a compliment to us.
Each October, early in the month, we look forward to the phone call from Lillian to reserve the tables under the Willow tree for the family to spend the day gathering and feasting. They make it a point to let us know how much they enjoy the gathering but I don’t know if they realize that their visit is just as much fun for us as it is for them. Several years ago Erickson Ranch presented a sign to the ladies titled, “Reserved for the Lillian and Nancy Family Gathering”. It has become part of their tradition to keep the sign from year to year and set it up on the table amongst all the family members and guests with all the wonderful pot-luck goodies for post- pumpkin gathering feasting. We hit a record number of family members and guests this year with 28 in attendance! What a wonderful time was had by all.
The ladies have been friends for many years and keep their families in close contact by arranging traditional gatherings throughout each year. Erickson Ranch is fortunate to be part of their family memories. We have grown to be friends over the years and it is without a doubt Halloween and the Giant Pumpkin Story would not be the same without their presence. We thank you all!!
As close as Nancy and Lillian are they do have secret. A very friendly competition to try to “outweigh” each other with their haul of pumpkins presents itself each year. They both made extra trips to the Patch to try to outdo each other this year.
Our thanks to Don Angle for beginning the Great Pumpkin Story!!!