Meet Sarah Rippe of SR Pumpkin and Flower Farm near Lincoln, Nebraska!
What SR Pumpkin and Flower Farm offers:
- U-Pick cut flowers
- Local Honey
- ( Most of the Pumpkins have been hailed out for 2022! Check social media for updates) Pumpkins and Winter Squash
“I love seeing the smiles on people’s faces when they come in from the flower fields - there’s nothing better!.”
Sarah Rippe started growing pumpkins at home on a ½ acre of converted yard. She jokes that her husband encouraged her to grow them so he didn’t have to mow the area of the yard that they occupied. Nine or so years later, she’s still growing pumpkins, though the scale has changed - 10 acres instead of ½ acre- and cut flowers, and honeybee hives have been added.
There is something about pumpkins that is addictive. Maybe it’s the sheer amount of variety -they come in every size, shape, and purpose imaginable. Or perhaps it’s the fun of planting a dime-sized seed and watching giant fruits erupt from the sprawling, climbing plants in a matter of months. Here in Nebraska, it could be that pumpkins represent that bittersweet transition from summer to fall. We decorate porches, tables, and stoops with them, they turn up in soups, breads, and lattes, but only for a few short months every year. Whatever the reason, there is no denying that pumpkins induce happiness.
“The short 2 month or so transformation of a tiny seed into a big beautiful pumpkin, or an intricate flower inspires and amazes.”
U-Pick…not just for apples anymore!
SR Pumpkin and Flower have been offering U-Pick flowers since 2021. They grow many different types and varieties - sunflowers, celosia, zinnias, gomphrena, tulips, daffodils, dahlias and much more! This is a great activity for flower lovers, friends, families with children and groups looking for a bonding experience. Walking through the farm’s flower fields is a peaceful and endlessly interesting experience - be sure to bring your camera to document the wonder-inducing intricacies of flowers.You may be familiar with the U-Pick model - consumers go to a farm, and pick their own produce - typically apples, berries or pumpkins, then pay for their bounty by weight. The U-Pick program at SR Pumpkin and FLower farm is similar. Here are the details.
U-Pick Flowers at SR Pumpkin & Flower
Monday: 9:30 AM - 2:00 PM
Tuesday & Wednesday: CLOSED
Thursday: 9:30 AM - 2:00 PM
Friday: 10:00 AM - 8:15 PM
Saturday: 9:00 AM - 8:00 PM
Sunday: 10:00 AM - 6:00 PM
They provide guests with a reusable cup which can be reused on subsequent visits at a discounted price for the entire season!
Fill your cup with as many flowers as you'd like (some varieties may have a stem limit):
- 32 oz cup is $15
- Cup refills are $13
Kiddie cups (ages 16 and under) are $9. Cup refills are $7.
All prices INCLUDE sales tax! Cash, card, or Venmo accepted.
What to bring: sunscreen, a pair of clippers, gloves (if you have sensitive skin as some flowers can cause skin irritation and pumpkin vines can be sharp) and drinking water to stay hydrated! We are a working farm so you may want to wear old shoes or boots. There will be many pollinators, including bees!
10,000 years in the making
In a regular year SR Pumpkin and Flower will grow about 100 types of pumpkins, gourds and squash, along with dozens of types of flowering plants for their u-pick flower fields. Today there are hundreds of varieties or cultivars of pumpkins available to grow, but how did this happen, and where do pumpkins come from?
According to the Smithsonian Magazine,
“Archaeologists unearthed the oldest example of orange field pumpkin seeds in Oaxaca, Mexico and dated them to an astonishing 10,000 years—millennia before the appearance of domesticated corn or beans. Initially, indigenous people used the squashes for their seeds and as containers, but by 2500 B.C. Native Americans in the Southwest were cultivating corn, beans and squash on farms. The crop spread across the Americas, with communities from the Haudenosaunee in the northeast (also known as the Iroquois Confederacy) to the Cherokee of the southeast planting and sometimes venerating the squash. Native Americans cooked the squashes in all manner of ways: roasting them in the fire, cutting them into stews, pounding the dried flesh into a powder, or drying strips of it into something like vegetable jerky.”
As pumpkins spread via trade and cultural exchange from central America and Mexico, the people growing them selected for the traits they wanted. Those traits could be selected for many different reasons- how the fruit would be used, how it tasted, how well it could be preserved or cooked, or how well it grew in the climatic conditions of a particular region. Consistent selection over many generations stabilizes a plant, and creates distinguishable cultivars. This process, which continues to happen up to present day, is what results in so many different varieties of pumpkins.