Pumpkin grower carves out her place in our Halloween market
With Halloween just around the corner, a local farm has been hard at work to ensure the nations trick-or-treaters will have their chance to carve their very own Jack-o-lanterns.
Bowen's Stackleroth Farms, located in the Delta, began growing Halloween pumpkins about 17 years ago after noticing a gap in the emerging market.
Now almost two decades later, the farm is the main supplier of carving pumpkins to Coles, Woolworths and Costco's across Australia.
In a sign of the growing popularity of Halloween across the nation, this year has been the biggest yet, producing about 570 tonnes across the whole production line with about 340 tonnes coming from the Bowen location.
Stackleroth Farm co-owner, Belinda Williams, said this year was not without challenges, with a series of cold mornings looking like it may have impacted the deadline of the pumpkin picking.
"It's a bit of science to have everything ready for the dates you need it," Ms Williams said.
"Bowen experienced a series of consistent cold mornings that impacted the ripening time of all of the growers in the region, but we hit all of our deadlines, which was good."
With two partners located in the Burdekin and Broome, Ms Williams said she expects to see next year be an even bigger crop, with planning already beginning for 2020 harvesting.
She said that Halloween and pumpkin carving had become progressively larger every year.
For Stackleroth Farms co-owner Michelle O'Regan, she said those that dismiss Halloween are missing out on some of the best parts, including family bonding.
"We're really proud to offer this aspect of Halloween, we love it," she said.
"It's such an amazing way for the family to come together and do something. It's really wholesome and it's just great fun.
"There's a lot of research and development that continuously goes into refining the pumpkins, as they are a little trickier to grow than your traditional pumpkins."
In the spirit of giving back, the duo has donated pumpkins to local schools around the region, as well as organisations such as the Brisbane Royal Children's Hospital where the pumpkins are used as part of a Halloween party for the children.
"Getting it to the hospital down there was a real mission, but great people made it happen for free," Ms Williams said.
"Our local transport company came on board to get them there, and then once there my agent in Brisbane moved them across Brisbane to the hospital free of charge, so the hospital wasn't out of pocket at all.
"It's a great family activity that we love being able to share."
For those looking for some tips and tricks to carve their own Jack-o-lantern, find out more in this video posted by Stackleroth Farms on their Facebook.