FLOYDADA, Texas (KLBK/KAMC) — As fall blankets Texas with crisp air and colorful hues, it’s time to start thinking about spooky things like Halloween costumes and jack-o-lanterns. While pumpkins don’t represent a large number of crops in the Lone Star State, they did help put one small West Texas community on the map.
Ever heard of Floydada? Located about 50 miles northeast of Lubbock, the town is known as the pumpkin capital of Texas — and is sometimes even called the pumpkin capital of the United States.
Many area farms supply them across Central and South Texas and even out of state to Oklahoma and Florida. A Floydada farmer, Tim Assiter, who owns Assiter Punkin Ranch & Pumpkin Patch, said many communities across West Texas and the Panhandle supply pumpkins as well.
According to crop briefs, 5,000 to 8,000 acres of pumpkins are planted every season in Texas, with 90% in the west side of the state.
Assiter said his pumpkin ranch is one of many pumpkin farms that produces and ships pumpkins both locally and throughout Texas. Assiter Punkin’ Ranch has approximately 200 acres of pumpkin on the farm. The ranch also provides a variety of pumpkins; from giant, colorful and even pumpkins that can fit in the palm of your hands.
According to Assiter, the ranch usually begins shipment starting from Labor Day and will arrive at its destination between Oct. 10 and 15. The main shipment in Texas from Assiter’s pumpkins arrives in Austin, Dallas, Houston, El Paso and smaller surrounding communities.
“We ship many loads of pumpkins each year,” said Assiter. He said pumpkins get shipped to three different types of customers.
The farm’s pumpkins go to big box stores such as supermarkets, discount stores and even hardware stores like Home Depot, said Assiter. Other pumpkins go to pumpkin patches, farmers markets, produce stands and even toward fundraising organizations.
Assiter Punkin’ Ranch also recently supplied Lubbock’s Pumpkin Trail with its festive decorations.
Sadly, on Sept. 24, Assiter lost nearly 2,000 specialty pumpkins from a fire that started in the refrigerator of the truck.
“If you love burnt pumpkins, man I’ve got some,” Assiter expressed.
He said ultimately “only one load” of pumpkin was lost and he was thankful his truck driver was not injured. He was also thankful that Assiter Punkin’ Ranch didn’t lose all its crops.
“Specialty pumpkins are stored in the refrigerator unit to cool off from the heat to help increase longevity,” said Assiter. The blue, pink and mini pumpkins were what made Floydada pumpkins unique and the pumpkin capital of the USA.
According to Assiter, they also lost 35-40% of their usual yield to harsh weather after the summer rain came “too little too late.” Despite the fire and extreme heat, Assiter Punkin’ Ranch was able to finish up its orders to ship off pumpkins to Texas, Oklahoma and Florida in 2023.