My sweet friend blessed me with a loaf of homemade pumpkin bread with huckleberry syrup today.  (And yes, the bread was delicious!)  How fun to find out later that today happens to be national pumpkin day!  Although I am not necessarily a “pumpkin spice” girl, I am a big fan of everything pumpkin.  Both to eat and to decorate.  Today is a perfect day to focus on how one of my favorite vegetables connects to Nebraska.

The biggest pumpkins in Nebraska.

Evidently this is not a new contest.  In fact, Nebraskans have been trying to outdo each other on pumpkins for well over one hundred years.  Back in 1886, noted photographer Solomon Butcher captured the October contest that was taking place in Broken Bow.  At the time, the railroad played a factor in determining the winner since one contest’s pumpkin shrank a bit during shipping.  The official winner was 81 pounds, but the one who sent his on the train was at one time 86 pounds.  He still was rewarded only second place despite the obvious shrinkage.  Those who attended the contest were definitely winners as they all were given pumpkin pie and coffee.  Read more and see the impressive photographs at History Nebraska.

Pumpkins have grown a bit in size over the years.  Although I could not find contests all across the state, the recent Garden County event had some big winners.  In fact the grand prize one was over 900 pounds.  Evidently growing techniques (or at least fertilizers) have improved through the years.

Pumpkins around Nebraska

Earlier this month in my post on ways to celebrate fall, I included many locations of patches across the state.  Want wholesale pumpkins?  Look no further than Callahan Creek Pumpkins near Ashland.  You can definitely find them everywhere in Nebraska this time of year.  I am really enjoying our unique pumpkin from the Milford Market for our current centerpiece!  After years of having neighborhood squirrels devour any pumpkins that we put out within hours, I felt like we could finally buy a fun pumpkin for our new place.

Enjoying the taste pumpkin at home

A few years ago, I wrote a post that included a link to a delicious pumpkin sauce for pasta (so good!) and the recipe for my favorite pumpkin pie cake.  And while this sweet treat is not made with pumpkin (more with the spices), these pumpkin chip cookies are so delicious, I had to mention them again!  Happy pumpkin day!

Author: neodyssey

My name is Gretchen Garrison. I started this blog about Nebraska in 2013. So far, I have written three books about Nebraska and Lincoln.