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One too many? September 29, 2008

Posted by ourfriendben in gardening, homesteading.
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Silence Dogood here. Lest you assume that the title of this post refers to our outdoor cat population, let me assure you that we have taken the necessary steps to ensure that no further additions are made to the feline contingent. Until, of course, some immoral jackass decides to drop their “problem child” (almost certainly a pregnant female) on our rural doorstep yet again. Grrrrrr. But I digress.

Actually, I’m talking about pumpkins. If you live as our friend Ben and I do in the precise middle of nowhere, Pennsylvania, where pumpkins are an important fall crop, you might think that local farmers would fear that they’d grown far more than one too many. The stunning autumn pumpkin fields—a glorious sight that has to be seen to be fully appreciated—and massive mounds of pumpkins at every farm stand, garden center, and farmers’ market would tend to support this conclusion.

But I’m not talking about the pumpkin population any more than I’m discussing the population of outdoor cats. In fact, I’m talking about one particular kind of pumpkin, a kind our friend Ben and I encountered last year for the very first time.

Now, our friend Ben and I are fans of all kinds of pumpkins. We love to make autumnal tableaux of large, medium, and small, round and flattened, red, green, grey, white, gold, and orange pumpkins. We think that pumpkins are the ultimate symbols of Harvest Home. And we love the harvest season so much that this year, we decided to prolong the pleasure as much as possible by buying just one new addition to our autmnal bounty display each week when we shopped at our local farmers’ market. A pumpkin or gourd, a chrysanthemum, a cluster of colorful ears of dried popcorn—week by week, our display will build to its glorious Thanksgiving culmination. The anticipation!

Prior to encountering this particular pumpkin, I’d given my heart to the round white pumpkins, the strange grey-green and blue-grey pumpkins, and above all, the brilliant red, flattened pumpkins, with plenty of other pumpkins, gourds, and winter squash playing supporting roles. But when I saw this one, it supplanted all others in my fickle heart. It was a large, imposing pumpkin, with a cream-white background covered by a lacy fretwork of red-orange veining. The effect was spectacular beyond words. Our friend Ben and I spent exactly one speechless second staring at the pile of this miraculous new pumpkin before rushing forward to grab one.

This year, too, the red/orange-over-cream/white pumpkin was the first item to appear on our doorstep to kick off this year’s Harvest Home display. I was so excited to see them at our local farmers’ market. Of course, they were unlabeled, but this didn’t bother us; we have no room for pumpkin vines here at Hawk’s Haven, so we’d have to buy them, anyway. It was only after our dear friend Sarah passed through here this past weekend that my interest in the pumpkin’s identity sharpened to a need to know after Ben and I sent our precious pumpkin home with her. (We know we can pick up another one at the market this week, after all, and, like us the year before, Sarah had never seen one of these before and was instantly smitten.)

A consultation with our good friend Google revealed that the most likely contender is a pumpkin with the outrageously inappropriate name of ‘One Too Many’. No way!!! There could never be one too many of these amazing pumpkins. Mind you, the ‘One Too Many’ pumpkins in the photos we saw did not exactly resemble the pumpkins we find here. The picture-perfect ‘One Too Manys’ were too heavily coated with the red-orange filigree veining, too round, and too perfectly ribbed. But they’re the only pumpkins we’ve seen that have even come close to our ideal of pumpkin perfection. Unless one of you tells us otherwise, we’re going to assume that ‘One Too Many’ is indeed our dream pumpkin. 

Can you bake with ‘One Too Many’? If so, how does it taste? Is it a good keeping pumpkin? Clearly, we have much more research ahead. But I can tell you one thing: We’re counting the days until Friday’s farmers’ market, when we can get another ‘One Too Many’ for our front stoop. Maybe we’ll get a second one for the back deck. There will never be too many of these glorious pumpkins for us!

            ‘Til next time,




1. Shibaguyz - September 29, 2008

We too have never seen such a pumpkin. Of course that doesn’t mean much… our pumpkin populous is nothing compared to those in your part of the country. I remember as a kid going to the county pumpkin festival in a town with a water tower made to look like a pumpkin. You all have some SERIOUS pumpkins out there! Can’t wait to hear a report on what this latest find of yours is…

We do indeed have a serious selection of pumpkins, and quite the assortment of water towers, as well! (I’d love to see the one that looks like a pumpkin, but to date our favorite is one that looks like a basket of apples.) We’ll have to see if anyone checks in with a closer ID than ‘One Too Many’. But now that I think about it, there was a sign in front of the bin at the farmers’ market that said “Too Many Pumpkins!!! $5,” which at the time I assumed meant the grower had gotten carried away. But perhaps he was simply listing the variety!

2. Jen - September 29, 2008

I’m always attracted to the mutant pumpkins – the lumpy and bumpy ones. Warts are good too. When it comes to pumpkins, the stranger the better, and it usually pays off at jack-o-lantern carving time. I haven’t heard of a “One too many” but sounds like something to hunt for.

Keep an eye peeled, Jen! It’s a good one!

3. Joy - September 29, 2008

Silence .. you have me so hooked on trying to find this one it isn’t funny .. NOW STOP IT !!!!
I have just begun to plan my advances on the pumpkin missions .. The need to find the exact type I am looking for .. well it is frightening .. I have become obsessed … and now you have become an “enabler” to my obsession .. I hope you are prepared to put me in the detox program after this season is done .. preferably before Christmas ? … it is only fair .. as I see it, with my bright triangle eyes !
hehehehehehe !

I’m sorry, Joy, but I can’t help you. Not only do we amass pumpkins, we can’t bear to cut into them. We had a gorgeous pale yellow one last year that we not only kept all winter, but set out as an ornament on our seagreen wrought-iron table the following summer! (It looked stunning!) When our faves start showing, uh, signs of age, we finally consign them to the chickens or the compost. But, er, we *still* have one winter squash… um… maybe there’s a 12-step program…

4. Mr. McGregor's Daughter - September 29, 2008

But how are it’s seeds? That’s the ultimate measure of a good pumpkin around here. It’s also the ultimate fate of all pumpkins around here. Nothing compares to the taste of freshly roasted pumpkin seeds. The store bought ones taste like cardboard. And they’re only available once a year. Which is why I have to agree with you that “One Too Many” is a riduculous name for a pumpkin.

Good point, MMD! We’ll have to roast some this year and see, assuming, ahem, that we can ever bear to cut into one! I’d be grateful if the storebought pumpkinseeds tasted like cardboard, instead of simply tasting rancid! What a shame, too. As you say, they’re such a treat. We love them on salads and soups, and our parrots love them, too!

5. Cindy - September 29, 2008

I am now off to google this One Too Many and I will be looking for it when we go to our local farmer’s market for our fall display. I, too, must have a wide variety of pumpkins, squashes, and all things harvest looking on my porch.

I hope you find them, Cindy! They are truly spectacular! Trust me, you need (at least) one! If you can’t find them, you can always hop in the car and head out this way…

6. fairegarden - September 29, 2008

So many fun ideas here, Silence, thanks. Getting a new addition to a display each visit appeals to the collector in me a great deal. And I also love the unique, and have also had a special place for the round white pumpkins since my youngest, Brokenbeat brought home a seedling in a milk carton of one when we lived in CA. The fruits were ripe way before Halloween, but kept well on a cool closet shelf until carving time. And I agree with MMD, the seeds are without equal when freshly roasted. One Too Many will be googled by me also. ;->

Frances, I hope you too can find a ‘One Too Many’ for your collection! Ben and I are planning a visit to Nashville over Thanksgiving, and will keep an eye peeled to see if we see them down there as well. Here’s hoping!

7. fairegarden - September 29, 2008

Coming to Nashville? You are welcome to stop by here on your way. We are forty five minutes from the I 40-I 75 split outside of Knoxville.

Frances, how kind of you! But I can’t bear the thought of inflicting us on you at Thanksgiving, and due to OFB’s commitments, I suspect the actual vacation will be so brief that our relatives will all be in an uproar. But oh, God, we’d love to see you and Faire Garden! So if you can bear the suspense, I’ll get back to you when I have somewhat more of a clue. And thank you and bless your hospitable spirit! If we can figure out how to swing it without deranging you and infuriating our own folks, we’d love to stop by and say hi!

8. deb - September 30, 2008

Sounds like a cool pumpkin. It is time for me to change Mr. Carver’s costume. You won’t believe what’s next. BTW, I have a situation over at my blog you might want to check on.

Can’t wait to see Mr. Carver’s latest fashion statement, Deb! And oh lord, a “situation”!!! I’ll be right over!

9. Sarah - September 30, 2008

As the lucky recipient of the ‘One Too Many’ I am crushed and outraged by its apparent cultivar name. I can’t imagine having too many of this divine pumpkin that now sits in the thyme patch in our front bed. Many thanks, Silence, for our first pumpkin of the season and reminder of good friendship.

My pleasure, Sarah! The thyme patch sounds like a perfect spot for it. I have to wonder what the wretched breeder must have been thinking to give it such an inappropriate name! ‘Nonpareil’ would have been more like it!

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