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Pumpkins from New Mexico make their way to Apopka


If you travel on 441 on the east side of downtown Apopka it is impossible to not notice the pumpkin patch in front of Trinity Baptist Church. From a distance it looks like just another pile of pumpkins waiting to be taken home for carving or other decorative purposes.

But when you walk into the patch you will learn what makes this pumpkin patch so different.

image1"Every pumpkin in this patch has been prayed over," said Mike Ballard, Student Pastor at Trinity. "Yes, we are selling the pumpkins to raise money for the Student Ministry projects here at Trinity. But there is a higher purpose."

Another difference is the source of the pumpkins. They were trucked to Apopka all the way from Farmington, New Mexico. You might think the cost of trucking pumpkins more than 1,900 miles would eliminate any possibility of turning a profit. But you would be wrong.

dsc_0078Trinity started the pumpkin patch three years ago when they partnered with Pumpkin Patch Fundraisers.

Pumpkin Patch Fundraisers (PPF), began in 1974 in North Carolina with 3 acres of pumpkins and a partnership with one church. They agreed to let the church sell the pumpkins and they would share the proceeds. There was no contract, no legal proceedingsā€¦just a handshake and trust in each other. Richard and Janice Hamby have been growing pumpkins and adding church and non-profit partners ever since.

dsc_0074PPF absorbs all of the costs associated with growing, harvesting and shipping. To ensure that their partners have a successful patch, PPF bears all of the risk of loss due to theft and spoilage.

After being hit by Hurricane Hugo PPF moved their farming operations to the Navajo Indian Reservation in Farmington, New Mexico. They grow pumpkins on 1,200 acres and employee over 700 Native Americans during the harvest months of September and October. They also have a full time off-season NM staff that is comprised of entirely Native Americans. This has a positive and dsc_0076lasting impact on a region with 42% unemployment.

The PPF pumpkin patch family has grown to over 1,200 organizations. The revenue split works on a sliding scale depending on volume. PPF limits their share to no more than 40% of sales.

Like all PPF pumpkin patches the patch at Trinity is much more than a place to buy a few pumpkins. As the photos show, tt is truly a pumpkin patch experience.

dsc_0077Monday, October 31st is the last day to experience the pumpkin patch at Trinity. They are open today (Saturday), from 10:00 AM to 7:00 PM, tomorrow (Sunday) and Monday from Noon to 7:00 PM. Trinity Baptist Church is located at 1022 South Orange Blossom Trail in Apopka.

Trinity has already sold more than 600 pumpkins, but there are still many quality pumpkins in the patch, including the increasingly hard to find white pumpkins!

Use this link to get directions and learn more about Trinity's Pumpkin Patch.


Pumpkin Patch Fundraisers, Trinity Baptist Church


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