Flood sweeps pumpkins into river
By John Biberman
Published on Tuesday, October 5, 2010
Ellen Anderson, a first-year MALS student, said she was a little bewildered when her roommates returned from their Saturday morning boat trip with armloads of pumpkins. Weekend flooding sent an estimated 60,000 to 100,000 pumpkins surging down the Connecticut River into the waiting arms of Dartmouth students and Upper Valley residents alike.
The pumpkin deluge began when heavy rains caused the Connecticut River to swell from a flow of 2,000 cubic feet per second on Thursday morning to a 44,000 cubic feet per second torrent by Saturday morning — nearly two feet above the river’s flood stage, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.
The river’s waters covered approximately 70 percent of Gladstone Farm’s fields in Fairlee, Vt., where the majority of the pumpkin crop had been harvested for delivery, the Valley News reported. The loose pumpkins were swept away by the waters.
This is the second time Gladstone’s pumpkin crop has been swept away by flooding since 2005, according to the Valley News.
Gladstone Farm could not be reached for comment.
The family-run Gladstone Farm grows corn and alfalfa, and raises dairy cows and riding horses, in addition to harvesting pumpkins, according to the website of Keep Local Farms, a program that advocates for the consumption of local produce.
Roy Mark, owner of Wellwood Orchards, Inc., another local producer of pumpkins, expressed sympathy for the owners of Gladstone Farm. Despite the thousands of free pumpkins floating around the Upper Valley, he said he was confident they would not affect his farm’s business.
Norwich, Vt., resident Brian Tompkins ’82, advisor to Panarchy undergraduate society, warned that flood conditions on the Connecticut River had made taking canoes and other boats on the Connecticut River difficult and dangerous.
“I found a capsized canoe floating down the river,” Tompkins said. “When I turned it over, I found it stuffed to the gunnels with pumpkins, with a digital camera inside.”
Graham Clarke, a Hanover resident who used his motorboat to collect approximately 50 pumpkins with his family, echoed the sentiment about the river’s dangers.
“It would have been dangerous to go out in a canoe,” he said. “The river was raging.”
Trevor Scott ’13, a member of the men’s rowing team, said the river’s strong currents made rowing upriver much more difficult than usual, although the pumpkins bobbing in the water provided amusement for the team.
“Occasionally we hit a pumpkin with an oar,” Scott said. “Our coxswain pretended it was a video game, like Mario Kart.”
Ali Procopio ’13 was one of the many Dartmouth students who journeyed to the river to collect pumpkins using canoes from the Ledyard Canoe Club.
“It was absurd,” Procopio said. “How many people have done this in their lives? What are the chances that there are pumpkins floating down the river?”
Anderson now has a teetering pile of pumpkins on her coffee table, pumpkins strewn across the floor of her apartment and pumpkins precariously lined up on her steps.
“We’re going to carve them for Halloween,” Anderson said, with an ear-to-ear smile.