GREENSVILLE COUNTY, Va. — At the crossroad of family tradition and community treasure sits Allen’s Pumpkin Farm in Greensville County, Virginia.
For more than 50 years, families have traveled to the Southside Virginia landmark to pick the perfect pumpkin.
“We came to the Allen’s Pumpkin Farm together when we were in kindergarten," Mary Marrs, standing next to a friend, said about a school field trip 24 years ago. "It’s kind of become like a family tradition.”
Greensville Sheriff Tim Jarratt said he remembered visiting the farm as a child and later bringing his kids and grandkids.
“It’s the next best thing to Christmas, I guess you could say," Sheriff Jarratt said.
The good memories can be traced back to a school project that included a pumpkin seed and a milk carton.
“[My teacher] brought a bucket full of dirt and we plated a pumpkin seed," Ronnie Allen said. “[We] took them home and transplanted them.”
Allen said he was the only person to bring a grown pumpkin back to class the following school year.
From that day, the pumpkin patch on Allen's parents' farm grew and grew, as did the number of children visiting on field trips.
“We love them coming, I know that," Lois Allen said.
Lois is the 93-year-old matriarch of the Allen family.
And while many people visit her farm for the pumpkins, others stop by to pay their respects to Southside Virginia's Pumpkin Princess.
“She is an icon for the County of Greensville," Sheriff Jarratt said.
Ms. Allen and her husband moved to the county from Richmond more than 60 years ago.
Over the decades, she worked the land and spent a lot of time with children.
“I love children," Lois Allen said. "I worked 22 years, driving a school bus and working the pre-school as an assistant teacher.”
At the farm, Allen made sure her young visitors left with the perfect pumpkin and a smile.
“The children need the real-life experience, they need to see things for themselves, they need to touch them, feel them, observe and smell them, more than just a worksheet or a piece of paper at school," Judy Daniel, with Brunswick Academy, said.
Allen’s Pumpkin Farm is not just a tradition but it is used by locals as a landmark when giving directions to Barley, Virginia.
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