The most popular jack-o’-lantern pumpkin is the Howden pumpkin. The pumpkin was developed in the 1960s by Massachusetts farmer John Howden. Today, granddaughter LaDawn and husband Kevin Priebe raise Howden pumpkins at Priebe’s Pumpkin Patch.
These Howden Halloween beauties grow to around 20 to 25 pounds. The Priebe’s farm is a few miles north of Crawfordsville in Montgomery County. Farm visits are free – wander the nature trail, the corn maze, a field of Howden pumpkins, or just sit by the campfire. “People come here because it’s laid back and they can walk around in nature,” Kevin says.
The Priebe’s initially trucked Howden pumpkins from Massachusetts to sell at the Covered Bridge Festival.
John Howden History – Then and Now
According to LaDawn, her grandfather tried to grow the biggest pumpkins with rich color and deep ridges. She remembers semi trailers loading up pumpkins at her grandfather’s farm, headed for New York City. “I didn’t know it was a big deal growing up,” she recounts. The elder Howden also patented the Howden Biggie – a 40-plus pound version of his original patent.
Her grandfather eventually shared seeds with LaDawn in Indiana. Soon she and her husband began growing, and eventually selling, these perfectly shaped jack-o’-lanterns. “We never planned THIS (the Pumpkin Patch) in a million years,” LaDawn says.
Harris Seeds now holds the patent on the Howden and Howden Biggie pumpkins, as well as the Aladdin variety.