Meet a Kalamazoo Icon, ‘Gene The Pumpkin Man’
As fall closes in upon West Michigan many people’s memories turn to riding to the pumpkin farm just outside Mattawan, and visiting “Gene the Pumpkin Man”.
Gene has been selling pumpkins, gourds, Indian corn, winter squash, corn stocks, pumpkin butter, pumpkin honey and cook books for over 50 years. His family (the Rhodes) acquired the farm in 1885, and Gene started selling everything fall in 1957.
Even though he so busy with his farm it does not stop him from volunteering at the ‘Kalamazoo Cancer Center’ 3 hours every week. He told FOX 17 “the pay is fantastic, and I am a volunteer”. Sadly Gene lost his wife to cancer a few years ago but keeps her love for the farm alive with a pumpkin tombstone.
When you arrive at the farm you will be seeing orange! CBS News reported he has an orange barn, car, truck, farm equipment and of course Gene wears his favorite color at all times, orange! If you see an orange car on the road, and want to be sure it’s “Gene the Pumpkin Man”, just look at the license plate, it reads “PUM MAN”.
After a picking out the perfect pumpkin, and spending time with a man known for his kindness, and sense of humor, it’s time to pay. Gene does not have a cash register or a calculator, he does the math all in his head. To fill the silence as he adds everything up, he pretends to be an auctioneer.
So treat yourself and make some great family memories! Visit “Gene the Pumpkin Man” this fall, the farm is open from mid-September to November 1st 10 am to 8 pm. 22637 M-43 in Kalamazoo