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By Whitney Wyatt/The Red River Sun—
CHILDRESS – There is no need to drive to Floydada, the pumpkin capital of the United States, to get pumpkins this year, as the Rustling Leaves Pumpkin Patch popped up in Childress.
“We wanted to do something to bring smiles to the community,” said Tracy Garcia, who is bringing pumpkins from her family’s pumpkin business in Floydada to residents in Childress because of COVID-19. “It feels good to offer something like this to the community.”
Garcia said she and her husband Oscar, who are both from Floydada but live in Childress, brought this idea to life in just four days. They put a feeler out on Facebook that received good feedback on a Wednesday.
They hit the road at 6 a.m. that Saturday and drove to her uncle’s pumpkin patch, Amado Morales Pumpkins in Floydada, to pick up the first load of pumpkins. On Sunday, they opened Rustling Leaves Pumpkin Patch with partners and G-10’s Bar & Grill owners Zack Machuca and Victor Lopez.
The pumpkin patch is located on Highway 287 across the street from Pak A Sak and G-10’s Bar & Grill, Garcia said. “We’ve been really busy since we opened,” Garcia said. “Childress residents have accepted us with open arms.”
Garcia said they offer a variety of pumpkins in all shapes and sizes. Some even have names.
They sell regular Jack-o’-lantern pumpkins, as well as Cinderellas, One Too Many, White Knights, Crystal Stars, Specters, Porcelain Dolls, Blue Dolls, Blue Hubbards, Day Breaks, Marina Di Chioggias and Lunch Ladies.
This leads to lots of comments and questions. They get asked ‘They really have names?’ and hear responses like ‘I’ve never seen a pumpkin like this’, Garcia said.
They also have gourds, festival squash and fall signs, Machuca said. While some are bought, he made others.
“I personally handmade different decorations to liven up your houses and porches,” Machuca said. “This way people don’t have to go out of town to buy them.”
Garcia said the community’s responses has been nothing but great, positive and exciting. But their customers go beyond Childress residents. Travelers going to California, Colorado and New Mexico also have stopped and purchased pumpkins.
Garcia said she’s blessed to have had no obstacles. They are renting the property from Tiger Willis, and Brent Whitaker provided the hay and equipment for free.
“We’ve been really blessed with the support and help,” she said.
The group is working on a festival for mid-October where kids can come out and play games and take photos. Garcia said they will stay open until the first weekend in November or they’re sold out.
Pumpkins range in price from $6 to $15. The pop-up is open from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., seven days a week. Garcia said they’ve had requests for the big max pumpkins, which weigh 30 to 40 pounds. Those range in price from $50 to $60.
“Childress has never had anything like that,” Garcia said. “With the acceptance and open hearts we’ve received, we are praying we can do this every year.”