From the farm: Calling all pumpkin smashers

  • It’s almost pumpkin-smashing time at Miles Smith Farm. Bring your unwanted pumpkins and squash to the farm from Wednesday to Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and smash them into cattle food. My cattle will love you for it. CAROLE SOULE / For the Monitor

For the Monitor
Published: 10/15/2022 4:00:20 PM

Nighttime air is crisp. Trees are orange and red as their leaves change color and fall to the ground. Overhead, wedges of geese honk as they pass over, heading south. The grass is eaten, and the cows now munch on hay. In the mornings, frost is on the pumpkin bringing joy to my cattle. Frozen pumpkins thaw in the autumn sun’s warmth, making them soft and squishy, perfect for chewing and a delightful alternative to dry hay.

But who wants to wait for the weather to do its work? Not the cows at Miles Smith Farm. Every year after Halloween, young, old, and in-between people descend on the farm to break apart unwanted pumpkins. I call these people the Pumpkin Smashers.

The cows and steers don’t care if a pumpkin had a smiley face or was carved to look like a ghost. They don’t care if it has cut-out eyes or a nose. The cows do care whether the pumpkin is easy to eat. Whole pumpkins are hard to bite into, but carved pumpkins give cattle something to sink their top teeth into (cattle have no bottom front teeth.) Carved jack-o-lanterns may be easy to eat, but the delicious gooey seeds are missing. Bovines love the seeds, which are also a natural dewormer for most ruminant species, which include goats, cattle, and sheep. Who knew pumpkins were medicine as well as food?

When a car drives up, the cattle will run to the fence, watch the visitor set a pumpkin on the smashing stump, pick up a sledgehammer, lift it high in the air, and then whack it down on an unsuspecting pumpkin. Sometimes the pumpkin skitters away and needs a second smashing. It often splits into smaller bits, just right for munching.

The little people, children too small to safely swing a sledgehammer, often dash a small pumpkin on a rock. Sometimes that technique works, sometimes not. I’ve seen helpful parents lift a difficult pumpkin overhead and propel it onto the ground, laughing as it splatters on the ground.

Do you have a secret (or not-so-secret) desire to smash things? Maybe you’d like to watch the cattle chase an escaped pumpkin as it rolls down the hill? Well, collect your non-yet-smashed pumpkins (paint-free, please) and bring them to the farm. Even if you don’t have any, we usually have extras. Stop by the farm Wednesday to Saturday between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. to try out your favorite smashing technique.

Remember, there is no right or wrong way to smash. The cattle don’t care. All they want are bite-sized bits. It’s a rare situation when smashing something can be an act of kindness!

Carole Soule is co-owner of Miles Smith Farm, in Loudon, N.H., where she raises and sells beef and other local products. She can be reached at

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