One too many? September 29, 2008Posted by ourfriendben in gardening, homesteading.
Tags: autumn celebrations, Harvest Home, pumpkins, thanksgiving, unusual pumpkins
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,