Thursday, March 27, 2014

Good Golly....Gourds!

A visit to Wuertz Farm

As we traveled around the area near Casa Grande, AZ, we passed by a gourd farm several times. 

Really?!

One day we finally decided to pull in. Wow! This place is unreal! The proprietor, Waylon Wuertz, is a wonderful, personable guy who answered all of our questions. When he was in college he began growing gourds on his Dad's farm... 
which was also his Grandpa's farm... 
which was also his Great Grandpa's farm.... 
He wanted to make a few extra bucks to help with student loans, so he planted a few rows of gourds in the fields next to the cotton, or hay, or whatever was growing in that field that particular year.  The next year he grew a few more rows. The demand kept growing. Currently, Waylon harvests over two dozen different sorts of gourds on almost 30 acres!

Photo from Wuertz Farm Web Site

Gourd shopping is easy. Grab a wagon with a tub on it and head to any of the large wire bins filled with gourds of different shapes and sizes. There are apple-shaped gourds here, "Dipper" gourds over there,
banana gourds,
cannon ball gourds,
warty gourds,
smooth gourds,
crown of thorns gourds,
bottle gourds,
egg gourds,
goose gourds,
long gourds,
tiny bottle gourds...

there are too many gourds to keep track of!

While the process of shopping is easy, finding the perfect gourd isn't! This one has a bit of a bulge on one side. The other has a small blemish. This one is too fat. That one is too small. Some people go to great lengths to find the perfect gourd....

Photo from my iPhone!

Once you have selected all of the gourds you want you head back to the 'office', picking up another gourd from this bin, and one from over there, and oh, look! More nifty gourds here. Finally, enough is enough! Waylon meets you at his pricing board. Gourds are sold by the inch, either of the diameter or the length. Within minutes, Waylon calculates the cost of your cache and you are on your way.

Now, we Dreamers have to figure out what to do with the gourds we bought! Although, between examples at Waylon's farm and those online, we have plenty of ideas. Here are a few examples I found online:





This is a small part of a desert diorama at the Wuertz farm
where all of the animals and many plants are made with gourds.

And, what if we just happen to run out of gourds before we get back to the farm near Casa Grande? No problem... the Wuertz Gourd Farm has Internet ordering! How nice!

3 comments:

  1. Wow, that's a lot of gourds! I wanted to create with gourds, so I grew some. We had a bumper crop, hung them up to dry, and then..they hung in our garage for years. Still have most of them. Pretty sure they are dry by now (insert eye-roll) and remain on my never ending project list. Looking forward to reading about your inspiring creations!!

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    Replies
    1. We were thinking of growing some. Glad to hear they can dry in the garage.. even for a long time!

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  2. We grew some birdhouse gourds once, they lasted quite awhile. That looks like a great place to shop! :)

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