If you procured a pumpkin from North Haven Gardens or Calloway’s Nursery this season, they were probably hand-picked at the Pumpkin Pyle of Floydada, north of Lubbock.
The family farm has been supplying some neighborhood nurseries and the Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden for years. The three-generation family farm started growing pumpkins in 1991, when Louis Pyle gave his 16-year-old grandson Jason 10 acres. “Pop-Pop” asked him what he wanted to grow and Jason said pumpkins. That year the teen, parents Paula and Robert Pyle and Louis raised 10 acres of pumpkins each. They started selling them off the road in front of their home.
Now the family has 660 acres, employs about 150 and loads between 15 to 20 semi-trucks a day during the season. The family mainly sells pumpkins in Texas and Oklahoma, but they also send trucks to Arizona, New Mexico, Missouri, Kansas, Arkansas, Mississippi and Louisiana.
“It’s been a really good supplement to our farming,” Paula says. The family’s main crop is cotton.
Paula and daughter-in-law Lindsey take orders and run the office. The most popular pumpkins, she says, are the Jack-o-Lantern, the minis and the pie pumpkins. After that they receive the most orders for the Crystal Star, a large white pumpkin, the Fairytale, which is green and turns buckskin, and the Cinderella.
Her favorite pie? Pumpkin, of course. She says the best pumpkin to cook with is the Cheddar variety.
Unused pumpkins are good for fertilizer and cows. The website is done by the Pyle’s son-in-law, a software engineer in Amarillo. “We try to keep it in the family,” Paula says. “I pay him in babysitting.”
DID YOU KNOW?
Paula Pyle says the best way to preserve a pumpkin is to keep it out of the sun. The Fairytale and Porcelain Doll varieties last the longest, especially if you keep them in the house. “I had one that I threw out in March because I was tired of looking at it,” Paula says.
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