That’s a wrap for the 4-H Pumpkin SPIN Club!
The start of November means that our 4-H Pumpkin Special Interest (SPIN) Club has come to an end. The 4-H Pumpkin SPIN Club educates youth about harvesting, agribusiness, entrepreneurship, food safety and culinary arts. Over the past two months, 4-H members have furthered their knowledge of the pumpkin industry at four hands-on learning opportunities led by extension agents Allie Prevatt, Prissy Fletcher, and Wendy Lynch.
At the first meeting, youth traveled to the UF/IFAS Cowpen Branch Research Center in Hastings, FL where there is a pumpkin demonstration supported by St. Johns County BOCC. Youth were able to get hands-on experience with harvesting while learning about different pumpkin varieties. Members worked to sort and weigh the pumpkins to see how they compared to the industry standard. Members were also able to get an up-close look at the farm equipment that was used to plant and maintain the pumpkins.
At the following meeting, members worked hard to sort and clean the pumpkins in preparation for their 4-H Pumpkin Stand. The 4-H Pumpkin Stand served as a fundraiser for the club and an opportunity for members to test out their entrepreneurship skills. Funds raised at the event were put right back into the program in an effort to keep the club cost-free to members. While manning the stand, members educated the public about the different pumpkin varieties and developed skills in financial literacy. Members learned the importance of marketing and how having good interpersonal skills can impact sales. Whether customers were searching for a sweet edible variety or decorative ornamental, the members were able to guide them in the right direction.
The final meeting brought the pumpkins to the table. Members learned how to make delicious pumpkin treats and gained knowledge in food waste practices. They tested out their baking skills as they worked together to combine ingredients in a baked pumpkin doughnut recipe. While their doughnuts were in the oven, they were given different food waste products and were challenged with deciding the appropriate way to dispose of them.
Youth walked away from the club with an increased knowledge about the pumpkin industry. From the growing process to the dinner table, they truly learned it all! While this year’s pumpkin club has concluded, we hope to continue the club for many years to come. We’re already looking forward to meeting next year’s pumpkin proteges!