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Indigenous Peoples Have Celebrated the Pumpkin for Centuries

By Dale Carson

I always wanted a pumpkin patch, so this year I planted one far out in the fields. Weeds quickly engulfed the orange fruit and its vines. Somehow, six sweet pumpkins survived.

Although it is thought that the sunset-colored gourd likely originated in Mexico and Central America, fragments of pumpkin stems, seeds and fruits have been recovered from the ruins of cliff dwellers in what is now the southwestern United States. Some pumpkin varieties have been cultivated as long as maize, since approximately 3500 B.C., according to the Agricultural Alternatives publication series developed by the Small-Scale and Part-Time Farming Project at Penn State, with support from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

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