Hill City’s prime pumpkin provider

By Jeff Smith

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Many pumpkins that were gathered around a fenced in area by Dakota Stone have already been bought. According to the owner of Dakota Stone, Jim Dean, people usually call up Dakota Stone to ask when the pumpkins are going to be there ahead of them being there.

“It’s a nice draw to the retail store, the rock shop. A lot of people pick up pumpkins and find out he have some nice stuff in the retail store,” Dean said.

Jim and Marilyn Dean opened up the shop about two weeks ago. The pumpkin patch has been around for 5-6 years.

The Dean’s said word-of-mouth and the sign out front of the Dakota Stone store helps people get the word out about the pumpkin patch.

Dean said people come year after year.

He said the pumpkins are worth every cent too.

Marilyn Dean said they started it for their grandchildren. They also have connections to the Hutterites that bring the pumpkins too.

“We had some grandkids at that age where you like to take pictures at a pumpkin catch,” Jim Dean said.

Marilyn said one year her grandchildren went to a big pumpkin patch in Rapid City but they ended up being out of pumpkins. Now she said the grandchildren get first choice out of all of the pumpkins around their pumpkin patch.

It’s a low maintenance pumpkin patch area that is set nicely decorated with straw bales, wagon wheels and an antique tractor. Dean said some people like the more low key pumpkin patches where people can go take a picture, relax and then go.

They usually get 300-400 pumpkins a year and they are usually all gone by the time Halloween rolls around. Deer usually come and clean up what is left of the pumpkin patch when customers stop coming.

Every year they also donate pumpkins to the Custer State Park for a night walk.

One thing Dean emphasized is that the pumpkins are nicer than people can find in any store.

“We try to get bigger ones than normal.” Dean said.

He said there is also a lot of weirdly shaped pumpkins at the area this year.

The pumpkins come from a Hutterite colony out in eastern South Dakota. Dean said it’s a big operation with turkey, cattle and pigs. When they drop off the pumpkins the Hutterites get shavings from the saw mill.

Dean said more and more pumpkin patches have been springing up all over the place. The next closest pumpkin patch is about 16 miles away from Hill City.

There are also gourds, corn stalk and straw bales out by the pumpkins.

People can stop at the pumpkin patch any day of the week. On Sundays they leave a locked cash box there. People can pick out the pumpkins they want and leave cash or check in the box.

“We don’t have summer help anymore so we decided to close on Sundays,” Dean said.

People can pay for it at the Dakota Stone counter Monday through Saturday, 8 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.

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