MONDAY NIGHT: Mostly cloudy. Low: 67. Winds: South 10-15 mph.
TUESDAY: Storms likely along the Illinois River in the morning, then scattered showers and storms. High: 80. Winds: South 10-15 mph.
Raising Delicious Pumpkins
Dave Sasse grows more than 50 kinds of pumpkins, gourds and squash at Gail's Pumpkin Patch in Logan County. That includes pumpkins that are meant to be eaten.
"They're all edible, but it's just which one makes the best pies and pumpkin bars and all the food products that people use them for," Dave said. "But the Dickinson Field, the lighter colored ones, are the ones that we say are the best to eat."
Dave's mother Lorraine is a bit of an expert on pumpkins of all sizes, including the Dickinson Fields.
"The color is much deeper orange, makes a prettier product, whatever you make out of it," Lorraine said. "And the flesh in it is not as stringy as what it is in other pumpkins."
But that's not the most important element for making tasty pumpkin treats.
"It just has more flavor to it than what the other pumpkins do," Lorraine said.
And there's plenty to like about eating these things.
"They're very rich in vitamins," Lorraine said. "And very healthy for you, besides tasting good."
The Dickinson Field pumpkins have had a good 2012, along with most of their other varieties.
"We've had a real good crop of pumpkins this year," Dave said. "It wasn't quite as good as last year. We had a real outstanding crop last year. This year is just a little bit smaller, but still an excellent crop."
But the biggest question for any patch is how the cash register is doing.
"Oh the business has been fantastic out here at the pumpkin patch," Dave said. "We've already exceeded last year, and we still have another week and a half to go here."
But good business also means a lot of work for the staff.
'We're tired, but we still have a good time," Dave said. "It's fantastic to see all of the families come out here. They just have a fantastic time out here and I enjoy watching them and talking to everybody."
Once the season ends, any leftover inventory gives them a head start for next year.
"What we do at the end of the year is just bring a shredder out here and run them through the shredder, and put them back into the soil," Dave said. "It's less fertilizer that we have to put on, so that's what we have to do with them."