The Tennessee Spinning Gourd: The Original Fidget Spinner

Fall is gourd season, and this year I found the cutest gourd yet: the Tennessee Spinning (or Dancing) Gourd.

I discovered these adorable walnut-sized green striped munchkins at the Coopersburg Farmers Market, sold by Bottoms Up Farm from New Tripoli. Mother-daughter farmers Theresa Hadley and Michaela Hagans joked about increasing the price of the gourds when I bought a bagful by writing new signage reading “Organic Fidget Spinners.”

IMG_8449.jpegLittle did I know that these little guys were actually the original fidget spinners. According to several online seed catalogue descriptions, the gourds originated in Tennessee, where they were used as tops by school children, thus the name Tennessee Spinning (or Dancing) Gourd.

Theresa also told me that the little spinners can be dried (at which point they turn light brown) and drilled to make garlands or even added to string lights. So not only do these fruits make great fall table decorations, but also fun craft projects. When I asked Theresa for comment, she said that the first year that Bottoms Up grew the gourds, they only planted six seeds and the plants busted into their greenhouse and took over growing everywhere.

This past season, the farmers covered an old canopy frame in chicken wire, leaving one side open and grew the voracious spinners on there alongside loofa gourds (all natural exfoliator, anyone?). As the gourds grew, they provided a private shady spot by the farmers’ pool.

You can find Bottoms Up Farm at Coopersburg Farmers Market on Sundays, and Perkasie Market on Saturdays. They are working to get a market going at Passer Community Center for next year.


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