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Picture of the day - September 10, 2006

A Bumper Crop Of Pumpkins In Shady Valley, TN

Ripe pumpkins lying in a field in Shady Valley, Tennessee.
Click photo to enlarge

Since it was a beautiful day here in the Mountain Empire, Cheria and I decided to take an afternoon drive through the scenic rural community of Shady Valley, Tennessee. Shady Valley is a true valley in every sense of the word - it is almost completely surrounded by mountains. In fact, the only way to exit the valley without crossing a high mountain ridge is by taking Highway 133 through the tunnel at Backbone Rock and on to Damascus, Virginia.

Shady Valley is one of the most beautiful places on the planet. Virtually the entire area between the three mountain ridges consists of level farmland with numerous barns, pasture fields and vegetable patches sprawling out in every direction from the "4-way intersection" located in the middle of the valley. If the Great Plains region is the "breadbasket of America", then Shady Valley must surely be the "breadbasket" of the Mountain Empire because the local farmers raise farm animals and crops of all types, and lots of them!

As we were driving through "Shady" this afternoon, Cheria and I saw several fields that were full of ripe pumpkins, ready and waiting to be harvested and sent on their way to the stores in time for Halloween. There were so many pumpkins lying in the patches that all you could see was a sea of orange unless you slowed down to take a closer look. It was quite a sight to see.

Well, apparently some of this year's bumper pumpkin crop had already been harvested because we soon came upon a barn holding a wagon load of the orange, beach-ball sized gourds. I stopped the car and peeked inside the barn, and what I saw amazed me! In addition to the wagon load of pumpkins that we had spotted from the road, there was also a long "Semi" trailer stacked high with hundreds more ripe pumpkins. There must have been at least a thousand of them in total!
A wagon load of ripe pumpkins.
I had always wondered where all those Halloween pumpkins we see in the stores every October come from, and now it's quite apparent that a large portion of them come from the beautiful fields of Shady Valley, Tennessee!

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