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The Great (Laurel) Pumpkin (Patch)

Farm offers wide variety of all things pumpkin
Posted at 7:05 AM, Oct 07, 2022
and last updated 2022-10-07 14:56:01-04

BILLINGS - A trip to T & C Farms in Laurel is a lot like stepping onto the set of Forrest Gump, but instead of shrimp you’ll get lost in a sea of pumpkins.

"Tytus cinderella varieties are short and squatty. And then your traditional Jack-o'-lantern varieties. Also sugar pie pumpkin, we've got a lot of these out there," said Tytus Harkins, the Bubba Gump of this pumpkin patch.

Pumpkin pie, pumpkin puree, pumpkin butter, pumpkin seeds...there are 45 varieties of pumpkins, gourds and squash at this agri-tourism stop along Holstein Lane in Laurel.

"These little ones over here, a midnight, a casperetta, orangeetta, pumpkimon," Harkins said. "This is a rouge vief de taunt, a cinderella pumpkin, a squatty one. That’s about as much French you’ll get from a Montana country kid."

Harkins knows a lot about pumpkins and the layout of the pumpkin patch. His civil engineering degree came in handy to design the agri-tourism traffic flow and he even got to put on his real estate developer hat to launch the family business 5 years ago.

"The overwhelming majority of people who come out here love the experience," Harkins said.

Today his pumpkin patch roots run deep and he’s able to squawk about squash for hours.

"Basically all your varieties of pumpkin or squash are edible, some just have more flesh to them," he said.

He not only knows what variety makes the perfect pumpkin pie...

"This guy is a small rouge pumpkin. Like I said, his seed cavity is going to be like this. You would be able to make somewhere between 4 and 6 pies out of this."

But also which are the most unique.

"These guys are gold and bumpy. They are called the grizzly bear."

And even which produce the best pumpkin seeds for roasting.

"We like to roast them in a little bit of bacon grease. A customer told us about that. And it's called pig candy."

This is the perfect place to go for all things pumpkin and is open to the public each weekend through October.

"It's kind of neat for the public to come here," Harkins said. "This is agritourism."