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A32—Lancaster Farming, Saturday, October 20,1984
BY JOYCE BUPP
STEWARTSTOWN - About this
time every year, as the moon
grows round and bright and the
nights turn chilly, mysterious
creatures begin popping up around
They appear part human and
part alien, part scary and part
comical. Some have comsilk hanks
of hair and others show round,
orange, bald pates. Some wear
colorful clothes, while others bare
more. Usually they turn up among
crackly cornshocks, piles of
colorful, oddly-shaped gourds and
clusters of bright Indian com.
Even their pets come along:
butternut squash piglets, neck
pumpkin geese, elongated-gourd
snakes, Snoopy of Peanuts cartoon
fame and the provocative Miss
“Pumpkin people” are turning
up all over these days, at retail
farm markets, countryside stands,
even downtown front porches.
Few displays of the decorative
and amusing pumpkin characters
have as long a history as tfte one at
Red Rooster Farm, just south of
Stewartstown, owned by Lois and
Leafing through a seed catalog
nearly twenty years ago, Spencer
Hammond spotted a picture of a
“pumpkin house,” a structure
featuring lots of shelves in a small
building for displaying pumpkins.
The Hammonds farm a hundred
acres, about half of it in vegetables
for their retail farm market, and
several acres of pumpkins. The
Coles, of Cockeysville, Md., grins as he ponders all the
delicious pies represented by these pumpkins.
The naughty but lovely Miss Piggy reigns over the Hammond pumpkin kingdom
“Pumpkin people” invade the countryside
orange cooking, baking, and
decorative vegetables have always
been a major seasonal item at Red
Rooster Farm market, and
Hammond figured his own version
of a pumpkin house would help
catch the interest of visiting
That house, filled with colorful
pumpkins, proved such a success
that the idea developed into a
seasonal creative project for
Hammond, prime designer of his
pumpkin people displays.
While the pumpkin house has
returned, year after year, other
ideas for characters from pum
pkins and gourds expanded into
several corners of the yard,
parking and sales stand area.
This year’s display numbers are
down just a bit, but ten creative
pumpkin pictorals surround the
market. They range from a
grizzled mountain man guarding
his pumpkin “still” to a trio of
singers rehearsing “ghostly
tunes.” As much as possible, the
displays are designed life size.
Red Rooster’s pumpkin people
have proved an extremely popular
drawing card, with hundreds of
visitors yearly. Many of them are
groups of children from elemen
tary to nursery school ages,
traveling often 20 miles or more to
view the amusing, cheery array of
Hammond’s pumpkin characters.
“I used to show each display, one
by one, to each group that visited,"
relates Lois Hammond, who
manages the retail market while
her husband and employees handle
the full-time job of producing,
Trio of Pumpkin choristers harmonizes a rendition of ‘‘Ghostly tunes,” including “That
Old Black Magic.."
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Cider might be the brew of the season, but this "Grandpa” prefers the distilleA
essence of pumpkin. Is that an IRS ghost in the back?
picking and. hauling in the daily
harvests. “Now I just tell them
about the displays, and they can go
look at them on their own.”
She also makes a point of
mentioning to adult leaders of such
groups the work involved in food
production, and its relatively
inexpensive cost compared to that
in other countries.
Hammond’s retail market is
open, seven days weekly, from
July through October. A complete
line of seasonal produce opens with
early sweet corn and continues
through the fall harvest of pum
pkins, squash, and decorative
items like ornamental corn and
gourds. Peppers, sweet potatoes,
beans, eggplant and cantaloupes
are among the market’s many
offerings. At the end of October,
the market stand is closed and
Hammond turns his attention to
Spencer Hammond's delightful seasonal display began
nearly two decades ago when he patterened a pumpkin house
after a seed catalog photo. Some toddlers find the wicked
witch on the roof just a bit scary.
harvesting the corn crop - while
pondering new pumpkin people
ideas as he gathers the grain.
Red Rooster Farm’s pumpkin
display can be seen through Oc
tober, seven days weekly, south of
Stewartstown on Route 24.