The Great Pumpkin

A ride through the cornfields in A Garden For All by Kathy Diemer

A ride through the cornfields (photo by: Kathy Diemer)

It was a perfect Sunday morning, the sky was misty but the air was fresh and cool; the ideal weather for pumpkin picking.  Or, as they say at Dykeman’s Farm in Pawling, New York: “P.Y.O.P.” (Pick Your Own Pumpkin).  When I arrived at the farm stand, I was cheerfully greeted by Wright Dykeman and his son Henry.  And when I asked if I could photograph their pumpkin patch before the sun got too bright, they couldn’t have been more accommodating.  In fact, Wright lined up a personal limo ride (on a hay wagon) that wove through the corn fields, eventually leading right up to the pumpkins.  Tom, my designated tractor driver, shared some history about the farm while I sat on my bale enjoying the scenery.

Dykeman Farm Stand in A Garden For All by Kathy Diemer

Dykeman Farm Stand (photo by: Kathy Diemer)

The Dykeman Farm encompasses 350 acres, and this land has been in the family since 1946, when Hank and Jean Dykeman (Wright’s parents) began farming there.  In 1999, Wright, Beth and their children, Candy and Henry, started simplifying the operations by limiting the crops to tomatoes and other vine vegetables, sweet corn, potatoes, squash, gourds and pumpkins, while also offering local fruit and cider.  Please visit their website: for more information.

Mini pumpkins and gourds beautifully displayed in A Garden For All by Kathy Diemer

Mini pumpkins and gourds beautifully displayed (photo by: Kathy Diemer)

Back at the stand, I spoke with Wright, his wife Beth, daughter Candy, son Henry and his wife Mandy, who was attentively watching over their dozing newborn (September 8th) son, Mason.  All hands were happily on deck, and it was quite evident how dedicated this family is to their farm, to their customers, and to each other. Everyone was smiling and friendly, offering to help customers, all who were treated (including myself) like old friends.  Wright and Beth patiently answered my questions about the pumpkins: “Yes, they are grown from seed and were planted the first week of June,” and, “We grow about forty different varieties of pumpkins, of which most are edible.”

The Great 'Rascal' pumpkin in A Garden For All by Kathy Diemer

The Great ‘Rascal’ pumpkin: pretty and tasty (photo by: Kathy Diemer)

What some of us may have forgotten, but the Dykeman’s clearly haven’t, is that October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month.  In an effort to raise awareness and funds, the Dykeman Farm grows a pink pumpkin variety called ‘Rascal’, with proceeds from the sales funding breast cancer research.  Wright Dykeman found out about this special pumpkin from The Outstanding Seed Company, where he purchased his seeds.  The owners of this commercial seed company, (, John and Jamie Hoffman, developed this pumpkin specifically to raise funds for cancer research after some of their own family members were affected by the disease.  And ‘Rascal’ is not just another pretty face, this pumpkin boasts superior culinary quality as well.

Assorted pumpkins at Dykeman's in A Garden For All by Kathy Diemer

Assorted pumpkins at Dykeman’s stand (photo by: Kathy Diemer)

So, as the weekend looms ahead, why not consider taking a short ride over the hill and visit some friendly folk, ride through corn fields and romp in the pumpkin patch while searching for your perfect pumpkin.  And for those not in my neck of the woods, you can find a ‘Pick Your Own’ in any location by visiting:  Perhaps you’ll see Linus and assist him in finding ‘The Great Pumpkin’.  Or maybe you’ll purchase a great ‘Rascal’ pumpkin and help support breast cancer research.  Either way, you’re sure to have a great time~

Words of wisdom from Linus van Pelt: “There are three things I have learned never to discuss with people: religion, politics, and the Great Pumpkin.


  1. Bravo! Never even heard of a pink pumpkin….. now I want to pick one!

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