Califonia Bountiful

Pumpkin king

Family carves a successful business out of growing gourds.

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If you choose to call farmer Art Perry "the pumpkin king," it wouldn't be an exaggeration. After all, his family has been growing the golden crop in California since 1927 and is now one of the largest producers of pumpkins on the West Coast.

It all started when Art's grandfather, at the age of 16, emigrated from the Portuguese islands of Azores and began the family farm in Manteca. Today the Perrys grow more than 5,000 acres of various crops, but it's the pumpkins that the family is probably best known for.

The company is called George Perry & Sons, named after Art's father, and it handles thousands of pounds of crops that are packed and stacked and delivered across California. Four generations of family members manage every aspect of the business, from new sales to processing orders to managing drivers and, of course, managing the warehouse—which at this time of year is a hub of nonstop activity. And every once in awhile, you'll even find 91-year-old dad George and his wife Violet come out of retirement and visit the company they nourished.

George says the family barely made a profit the first few years in the business. But fast forward to today and the company bearing his name is now one of the largest shippers, growers and handlers of pumpkins in California. 

California produces about a quarter of all pumpkins in America. And because San Joaquin County is one of the top pumpkin-producing regions in the Golden State, there's a good chance that you or your family will have a Perry pumpkin this year.

For more information about George Perry & Sons, visit

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