A group of seven cousins have been working to save money for their college educations for the past eight years.
Through their business, Pumpkins 4 College, they started selling pumpkins in 2015. Their grandfather, Curt, passed on his enjoyment for growing pumpkins to his children. One of his daughters, Beth, came up with the idea to sell the pumpkins to save money for college for Curt’s grandchildren. The cousins range in age from 6 years old to 19 years old. Oldest cousin Aspen Dorr is in her second year at the University of South Dakota and was the first to draw from the account.
“All of the proceeds we make off of this gets split seven ways in between all of our college accounts,” Dorr said. “It’s a really big help for sure.”
In addition to Dorr, there is her younger brother, Dawson, a sophomore at Montrose; cousin, Bristol Petterson, a first-grader at Canton; and the Aasheim children, Jack, a junior at Lennox, Cade, a freshman at Lennox, Lance, a seventh-grader at Lennox, and Julia, a third-grader at Worthing. Each winter they all gather to decide what kind of pumpkins they will plant. They have plant most of the pumpkins at Curt’s place. They have close to an acre of space reserved for pumpkins so they have fun picking the different varieties to try each spring.
This year they have about 10,000 pumpkins, which is the most they have had.
After spring planting is done, they spend time keeping the patch weeded. In the fall, they pick as many as they plan to take to their stand to sell the week of the stand. They begin selling pumpkins the second to last Saturday in September. They set their stand up at Tri-State Ready Mix in Canton along Highway 18.
Their next event they’ll set up a stand is at the Festifall at Newton Hills State Park on Oct. 7. After that, they will be back in Canton Oct. 14.
In addition to pumpkins, they also sell crafts some of the aunts have made during the year.
At the stand, everyone helps.
“My role is to help and make sure people get what they wanted. I load their car for them and try to make their day the best as possible,” Lance Aasheim said.
In addition to selling pumpkins, Curt also enjoys delivering the small pie pumpkins with his wife, Lone, to about 10 elementary schools in the area, as well as donations of pumpkins to Sanford’s Children’s Castle, nursing homes and the Banquet in Sioux Falls.