Pumped up

Haven’t seen one of these around lately …

Haven’t seen one of these around lately …

Fact: 90 percent of pumpkins are harvested in October, and California is the fourth largest producer in the nation. These gourdlike squashes have existed in the Americas since 5,500 B.C., long before the advent of Halloween.

Sacramento hosts a plethora of pumpkin patches, from Dixon to El Dorado, and there’s plenty to choose from.

Bastiao Farms, located on El Centro Road, specializes in ribbed Cucurbita varieties. Dennis Bastiao, a third-generation farmer, has plenty of pumpkin experience.

“I’ve been growing pumpkins for about 12 years,” he said. “We’ve been doing the [Goblin Gardens] pumpkin patch for about eight years.”

Bastiao Farms is open all of October for families to pick out their favorite types. “We have all different colors,” said Bastiao. “Red Cinderellas; white Caspers; blue harvest Jarrahdales; the fairy-tale tan color, which has nice ribs on it and stands up taller, and little munchkins. I’ve got some 30 different varieties of gourds and pumpkins. I probably plant too many.”

So this year, celebrate fall with local pumpkins: Make a pie, bake and salt the seeds, maybe even flavor a batch of pancakes or gnocchi.

With a variety of edible uses, pumpkins can add flavorful treats to your jack-o’-lantern tricks.