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article imagePhoto Essay: Businesses proudly display their patches of pumpkins Special

By Kay Mathews     Oct 17, 2013 in Business
With nearly 158 million Americans celebrating Halloween this autumn and more than 117 million households celebrating Thanksgiving, businesses are featuring the all-American symbol of the season, pumpkins.
A recent survey by the National Retail Federation found that "nearly 158 million consumers will participate in Halloween activities" this month. Findings indicate that "there are a variety of ways Americans will celebrate this year," including carving a pumpkin (44.2%) and decorating their home and/or yard (47.5%).
Moreover, the most recent data, 2009 numbers, from the U.S. Census Bureau indicates that more than 117 million households will celebrate the Thanksgiving holiday.
The two holidays have at least one thing in common: the great pumpkin. Whether carved into jack-o-lanterns, processed into canned pie mix, or used as lawn decorations, this popular symbol of autumn is more American than apple pie. According to the Lancaster Eagle-Gazette, "Apples had to be brought to this continent by European settlers in the 1660s, but pumpkins were already here. They were among the culinary mainstays introduced to the pilgrims by native Americans, and had a place on the table at the second Thanksgiving in 1623, along with various kinds of squash."
All-American pumpkins at Polk s Plus farmers  market in Pooler  Ga.
All-American pumpkins at Polk's Plus farmers' market in Pooler, Ga.
The U.S. pumpkin market, though seasonal and limited, is not insignificant. In 2011, for example, "pumpkins were harvested from 47,300 acres from the top six states (Illinois, California, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Michigan) and were valued at $113 million."
The market begins with pumpkin growers and then the pumpkins make their way to farmers' markets and other retail establishments. Businesses in southeastern Georgia, for example, are prepared for Halloween and Thanksgiving shoppers looking to purchase pumpkins. Polk's Plus farmers' market in Pooler, Ga. set-up its pumpkin patch early in October.
Pumpkin patch at Polk s Plus in Pooler  Ga.
Pumpkin patch at Polk's Plus in Pooler, Ga.
Colorful pumpkins of all sizes are available at Polk s Plus farmers  market in Pooler  Ga.
Colorful pumpkins of all sizes are available at Polk's Plus farmers' market in Pooler, Ga.
Cheerful pumpkins at Polk s Plus in Pooler  Ga.
Cheerful pumpkins at Polk's Plus in Pooler, Ga.
Patch of pumpkins at Polk s Plus farmers  market in Pooler  Ga.
Patch of pumpkins at Polk's Plus farmers' market in Pooler, Ga.
The Cracker Barrel Old Country Store, also located in Pooler, Ga., has pumpkins and colorful squashes welcoming guests.
Pumpkins  Welcome Friends  at the Cracker Barrel in Pooler  Ga.
Pumpkins "Welcome Friends" at the Cracker Barrel in Pooler, Ga.
In Savannah, Ga., the Whole Foods Market on East Victory Drive features an extensive assortment of pumpkins and squashes.
A boy stretches out his arms in front of a patch of pumpkins at Whole Foods Market.  Savannah  Ga.
A boy stretches out his arms in front of a patch of pumpkins at Whole Foods Market. Savannah, Ga.
A youngster demonstrated how fun and serious the pumpkin selection process is. He took his time inspecting the assortment.
A boy examines the pumpkins at Whole Foods Market.  Savannah  Ga.
A boy examines the pumpkins at Whole Foods Market. Savannah, Ga.
A boy examines the pumpkins at Whole Foods Market.  Savannah  Ga.
A boy examines the pumpkins at Whole Foods Market. Savannah, Ga.
A boy examines the assortment of pumpkins and squashes at the Whole Foods Market.  Savannah  Ga.
A boy examines the assortment of pumpkins and squashes at the Whole Foods Market. Savannah, Ga.
The pumpkin market for 2013 will essentially end on Friday, November 29. Between now and then, however, millions of Americans will have enjoyed carving jack-o-lanterns and eating pumpkin pies and thousands of businesses will have profited from providing the all-American pumpkin.
More about Pumpkins, Halloween, Autumn, harvest season, Thanksgiving
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