As the calendar turns to October and with fall weather setting in, it is now pumpkin season and a few events will be occurring this weekend in Kitsap County.
Both Valley Nursery and Kitsap Conservation District will be holding pumpkin patch events. Valley Nursery will be hosting Tacoma Glassblowing Studio for its annual Northwest Glass Pumpkin Patches event while KCD will be holding its reoccurring U-pick pumpkin patch.
Glass Pumpkin Patch
Valley Nursery in Poulsbo will be hosting TGS for the fifth time Saturday to showcase its large variety of glass pumpkin decorations. The nursery did not hold one last year because the studio was not touring due to COVID-19 concerns. This year, TGS is going to four places across Western Washington to showcase its glass pumpkins, and Valley Nursery is one of them.
“They sought us out as kind of the high-traffic spot for North Kitsap,” said Justin Robbins, part-owner and general manager of Valley Nursery.
Robbins said the glass pumpkin movement has been garnering much interest over the years, and people love to check out the different colors, shapes and sizes.
“I think it’s almost become like Christmas tree ornaments where you get a set or a style,” he said. “A lot of customers seek to add one to their collection every year. There’s so many styles, colors and sizes; there’s lots of intricate little details on a lot of them. They’re pieces of art.”
The day of the event, TGS staff completely overhauls Valley Nursery and fills it up with up to 5,000 glass pumpkins in about four hours, Robbins said. Some of the glassblowers will be onsite to answer questions and provide insights into their artwork.
Since the event is just one day, Robbins said the nursery is jampacked, seeing up to 1,800 people over the years.
“We are purely a stage for them to work on. We don’t take any of their profits. We just want them here because it’s good for us, good for the community to have a spot to see something this cool,” he said.
The event runs from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Glass pumpkin prices range from $35-$85.
The weekend before, Valley Nursery offered pumpkins for sale. They recently received over 20,000 pounds of pumpkins and offer lots of specialty ones of different shapes, sizes and colors. “We’re a grower retailer, I live five miles away from the nursery,” Robbins said. “We do a half-acre garden of just pumpkins. I grow them right up the road in North Poulsbo.”
In Central Kitsap, KCD will be holding its U-pick pumpkin patch Friday and Saturday. Last year’s event was canceled due to COVID concerns.
KCD grows about 8,000 pounds of jack-o’-lantern pumpkins. Pricing is $6 for small, $8 for medium and $10 for large. They also offer a Winter Luxury pumpkin for cooking.
“Jack-o’-lantern pumpkins aren’t technically edible varieties – you can cook them up for pies but they tend to be really watery,” said Diane Fish, KCD resource planner.
Fish said they usually sell about half of the pumpkins during u-pick weekend, but they bin up the rest and send them to food banks.
Proceeds go toward materials and supplies for KCD’s GRACE (Growing for Restoration, Agriculture and Conservation Education) Garden. Funds are used to pay for seeds, potting soil and other supplies. For example, this past year they used funds to upgrade the ventilation system in its high tunnel because they had a problem with powdery mildew last winter. Fish said the seeds alone for the squash and pumpkins that they plant in the half-acre field are nearly $500.
“KCD’s GRACE Program demonstrates best practices for sustainable farming on our one-acre organic farm, grows 20,000 (pounds) of fresh vegetables annually for local food banks, and provides restorative justice opportunities for the community service work crew from Mission Creek Corrections Center for Women in Belfair. While the crew is currently on hiatus from community service due to COVID precautions at MCCCW we anticipate them returning to work in the garden in spring 2022,” Fish said.