Tales from Niagara: Pickin’ Pumpkins at Howells Family Farm

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Tales from Niagara is a blog series focused on the people and places that make Niagara’s Greenbelt great. The series will cover everything from local businesses, to seasonal events, to life on Niagara farms. Look out for our upcoming posts to stay up-to-date and informed on exciting going-ons in Niagara's Greenbelt. 

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It’s a sunny autumn day in Niagara, and families are all smiles as they walk through the displays that lead to Howell Family Pumpkin Farm. Little do they know, they’re walking right past the spot where 40 years ago, they would have found a nine year old Jerry Howell on the side of the road with a wheelbarrow full of pumpkins. Early that spring, Jerry had convinced his parents to plant one row of pumpkins in a back field of what was then a pig and chicken farm. When he sold that wheelbarrow full for twenty eight dollars, an amount he described as a LOT of money in 1975, he asked his parents that next year, they plant two rows. The following years, he set out carved pumpkins on his front lawn and people started coming just to see the displays. When people asked for corn stalks and squash, he started growing it. When they asked if he gave tours or wagon rides, Jerry, who described himself as an “entrepreneurial” young man, added them. Forty years later, Howells is a Greenbelt gem, drawing tourists from Niagara and beyond.

To mark this year’s anniversary, the displays and attractions are bigger and better than ever. The winding entrance path features huge hay bale sculptures in a Wizard of Oz theme, complete with lions and tigers and bears (oh my!). There are more than 50 pumpkin headed scarecrows, and each one is a new design from last year.

To mark this year’s anniversary, the displays and attractions are bigger and better than ever. The winding entrance path features huge hay bale sculptures in a Wizard of Oz theme, complete with lions and tigers and bears (oh my!). There are more than 50 pumpkin headed scarecrows, and each one is a new design from last year. There are two corn mazes cut fresh this season, a pumpkin sling shot, pig races, and an animal farm featuring baby donkeys, goats and an ostrich. The shows, featuring singing chickens and skeleton bands, stem from Jerry's background in electronics. Everything at the farm is designed on site. A highlight is the feeding of Rex, Jerry’s pride and joy, a fully automated pumpkin tyrannosaurus rex that during his show reaches up to twenty five feet in the air, and plays a pretty good game of pumpkin basketball.

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To celebrate his farm's 40th anniversary Jerry Howell has gone all out. He's built a twenty five foot  pumpkin tyrannosaurus rex, Wizard of Oz themed hay bails, and more than 50 pumpkin headed scarecrows!

You can pick up blue pumpkins, striped pumpkins, pie pumpkins and more at the farm today, along with some famous Howell family pumpkin donuts. Giant pumpkins will be ready the first weekend in October. With 10 acres of pumpkin growing space on site, there is at least one here for every visitor.

About forty thousand people will walk through the fields of Howells this season, taking in the fresh air and family farm adventures it has to offer. Make sure to check this Greenbelt "to do" off your list before October 31!

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Want to find other great pumpkin farmers in the Greenbelt? Check out our comprehensive list of pick-your-own pumpkin patches in the Greenbelt.


 JACKIE CORNWALL
--Communications Assistant, Niagara Region

 

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