FLOYDADA, Texas — Folks at Assiter Punkin’ Patch were devastated by a fire on Sunday that took out a decent part of their crop, but like all farmers, owner Tim Assiter said he’s that they’re still optimistic for this season.
“We’re trying to just laugh it off the best we can, talking about [how] we’re having a fire sale and, ‘Come get them while they’re hot,’” Assiter said.
With the fire, Assiter’s harvest season has been off to a rocky start, which isn’t ideal, especially after a hot and dry growing season produced a crop about 40 percent smaller than usual.
“The reefer on one of our trucks exploded, caught the truck on fire and burned a whole semi of pumpkins up,” described Assiter.
The blaze, which started in the refrigerator of the truck, cost Assiter nearly 2000 of Floydada’s most unique pumpkins that help make the town the state’s pumpkin capital.
“I think the key to that semi is that burned is we had a lot of our specialty pumpkins in it,” said Assiter. “They were the blue pumpkins, the pink pumpkins, some of the fairy tales, some of the Cinderella; some of the things Floydada is famous for is what we had in that truck. And we were getting them to mix in boxes to go out wholesale across Texas and New Mexico and Oklahoma.”
Although it’s a hard loss, Assiter said he’s just glad the pumpkins were the only thing lost.
“The driver is doing okay,” said Assiter. “He took a huge risk to save his truck and disconnected that; it melted the interior of his sleeper on his truck as he moved it. He was a hero to jump in that truck and get out.”
Despite all the hardships this year, Assiter said he and his crew are continuing to do what they do best: make people happy with the pumpkins they have, and he’s still confident moving forward.
“We are very optimistic about next year and we’re going to do what we can this year to get you your pumpkin with the conditions that we have to work with,” said Assiter. “Next year is going to be a great year. We’re going to have the Great Pumpkin and Charlie Brown.”
Assiter also said the best way to help the pumpkin patch right now is to come on down to their Punkin’ Days starting the second Saturday in October.