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Pop quiz: Can pumpkins cure acne?
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Got pumpkins?

Ask that question in Manteca this time of year and you’ll liable to get inundated with tons of them.

Manteca — contrary to the well-oiled propaganda machine out of Half Moon Bay — is the true pumpkin capital of the West Coast if not the entire United States.

Half Moon Bay is essentially celebrating a gathering of garden pumpkin growers — call them elitist — from up and down the West Coast who travel to the coastal community in a bid to garner bragging rights for creating pumpkins that are more conducive to hernias than Halloween and fall fun for the masses.

Steady convoys of trucks loaded with orange squash will depart Manteca daily now through the last week of the month destined for markers in Los Angeles and the rest of Southern California as well as the Bay Area. If a Californian has a pumpkin for decorative purposes there is a good chance it came from Manteca.

Given that and the fact this is the weekend of the 30th annual Sunrise Kiwanis Manteca Pumpkin Fair, it’s only appropriate that you test your knowledge of pumpkins. 


1. According to the University of Illinois, the self-proclaimed “Pumpkin Capital of the World” is in

a) Hungry Hollow, Illinois where Sara Lee’s pumpkin pie factory is located.

b) Morton, Illinois where you’ll find Libby foods’ pumpkin industry.

c) Santa Rosa where you’ll find the pumpkin patch that inspired Peanuts creator Charles Schulz to have Linus become obsessed about the Great Pumpkin.


2. Pumpkins contain healthy doses of:

a) protein and seed oil.

b) vitamin E and protein

c) potassium and vitamin A


3. The largest pumpkin ever grown weighed:

a) 857 pounds

b) 2,032 pounds

c) 1,140 pounds


4. Perry & Sons is the largest broker of pumpkins on the West Coast. Who is   the patriarch of the Perry pumpkin clan in Manteca.

a) Carlon Perry

b) Bill Perry

c) George Perry


5. Pumpkins are part of the:

a) Cucurbita family that includes squash and cucumbers

b) Smashita family that includes squash and most vine vegetables.

c) Squashita family that includes squash, watermelons and pumpkins


6. Pumpkins are 90 percent:

a) Mush

b) Seeds

c) Water


7. In early colonial times, pumpkins were used primarily not as pie filling but as an ingredient for:

a) Mixing with tobacco in pipes

b) As a potato substitute

c) pie crusts


8. The traditional American pumpkin is the:

a) Perrymania variety

b) Connecticut field variety

c) orange variety


9. What was the one thing that native American Indians did not use pumpkins for?

a) They flattened strips of pumpkins, dried them and made mats.

b)They gutted them and carved faces in them to ward off evil harvest spirits.

c) They extracted pumpkin seeds and used them for food and medicine.


10. Who was the colorful Manteca character who first advanced the idea of having a Manteca Miss Pumpkin to acknowledge the area’s status as a large producer of pumpkins:

a) Patrick O’Leary, a former editor of the now defunct Manteca News

b) John “Pumpkin” Perry, a cousin of Perry & Sons founder

c) Bob “Lefty” Leatherpine who was known in his high school days at Manteca High for using pumpkins for batting practice.


11) What part of the pumpkin isn’t edible:

a) The flowers

b) The stem

c) The seeds


12) Manteca’s first informal pumpkin fair at Library Park staged by local growers involved small scale pumpkin games for kids. It’s only non-pumpkin attraction was:

a) An orangutan 

b) A then unknown Garth Brooks singing under the name of Julius Brooks

c) Two belly dancers


13) The first service club to expand the Pumpkin Fair beyond what the growers started was:

a) The Pumpkin City 4-H Support Group

b) Manteca Jaycees

c) Sunrise Kiwanis


14) At one time, it was thought pumpkins could:

a) cure acne and split hair

b) remove freckles and cure snake bites

c) remove facial wrinkles when applied as a cream


15) Manteca has claimed a number of agricultural titles as claims to fame long before pumpkins. Which one of the following was not something that Manteca was referred to as?

a) Tomatoville

b) Watermelon Capital of the World

c) Land of a Million Sugar Beets


16) What percent of pumpkins grown in the United States goes to market in October?

a) 80 percent

b) 95 percent

c) 75 percent


17) What did Native Americans call pumpkins?

a) Orange squash

b) Isqotum squash

c) Hiwawata squash


18) The making of jack-o-lanterns at Halloween originated from:

a) an Irish myth about a man nicknamed “Stingy Jack.”

b) a Native American tradition to ward off evil spirits

c) a marketing strategy, much like Hallmark Cards helped create Mother’s Day, engineered by the American Pumpkin Growers Association.


19) Pumpkins originated in:

a) Transylvannia

b) Central America

c) Half Moon Bay


20) The name pumpkin originated from:

a) “peopon” — the Greek word for “large melon.”

b) “pumpina” — the Italian word for “orange melon.”

c) “punkin” — a Welsh slang word for “adorable fall thing that grows on a vine.”


21) Pumpkins by definition are:

a) Fruit

b) Vegetable

c) Half-fruit, half-vegetable


22) In the 30 years that the Pumpkin Fair has been staged by the Manteca Sunrise Kwianis, the service club has:

a) generated more than $500,000 for local non-profits

b) lured more than two million visitors to Manteca

c) sold the equivalent of 110 semi truckloads of pumpkins



• 19-22 correct: Smashing! You know your pumpkins

• 14-18 correct: If you spit as good as your knowledge of pumpkins, you should win this year’s Manteca Pumpkin fair seed spitting contest

• 9-13 correct: Solid effort. Go out and buy yourself an albino pumpkin to celebrate

• 4-8 correct: Cheer up. At least you know where Manteca is.

• 0-3 correct: Don’t fret. You don’t have to know a lot about pumpkins to enjoy them.


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