Pilgrims learned to cultivate, grow and store pumpkins from the Native Americans. Without them, they would have starved in those early 1600s winters. Pumpkin pie is traditionally served at the Thanksgiving meal. It’s easy to forget what a significant role it played in the early Pilgrim’s lives.
We have a number of pumpkin festivals and pumpkin “patches” in our community. We attended many of them when our boys were young, and were sorry when a few closed to make room for development.
The immensely popular Half Moon Bay Pumpkin Festival, dubbed the World Pumpkin Capital celebrates 42 years in 2012. The festival highlight for those of us serious about pumpkins, is the great pumpkin weigh-off. Last year’s winning pumpkin tipped the scales at a mind-boggling 1,704 pounds. Unfortunately, the festival has grown so popular that it can take upwards of an hour to get to the center of town. We joined friends for an off weekend last year, so we could drive through Half Moon Bay and along the beautiful coast, while avoiding the traffic nightmare.
I dream of growing our own “Atlantic Giant,” out back, but lack the stamina and will power of the serious growers. It’s fun to read about the efforts the hard-core growers employ, and to see the amazing results. It was quite the thrill growing a 62 pound beauty this year.
I can’t wait to see what the seeds and flesh are like inside. My husband lovingly carves our pumpkins year after year. We dry and store seeds for the following season and the cycle begins anew.
- Pumpkins are a member of the gourd family, which includes cucumbers, honeydew melons, cantaloupe, watermelons and zucchini.
- The largest pumpkin pie ever baked was in 2005 and weighed 2,020 pounds.
- In 1584, after French explorer Jacques Cartier explored the St. Lawrence region of North America, he reported finding “gros melons.” The name was translated into English as “pompions,” which has since evolved into the modern “pumpkin.”
- Pumpkins are low in calories, fat, and sodium and high in fiber. They are good sources of Vitamin A, Vitamin B, potassium, protein, and iron.
- The heaviest pumpkin weighed 1,810 lb 8 oz and was presented by Chris Stevens at the Stillwater Harvest Fest in Stillwater, Minnesota, in October 2010.
- Pumpkin seeds should be planted between the last week of May and the middle of June. They take between 90 and 120 days to grow and are picked in October when they are bright orange in color. Their seeds can be saved to grow new pumpkins the next year.
U.S. Census Bureau and the Guinness Book of World Records
- Half Moon Bay Art and Pumpkin Festival
- All About Pumpkins (History)
- Pumpkin Facts
- The Charles Schultz Classic, It’s The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown, premiered 45 years ago.
- Our own pumpkins over the years
I’m really missing Pumpkin pie, pumpkin ice cream. pumpkin lattes…even just read about a spiced pumpking beer! They just don’t know how to do pumpkin here in Australia. 😦
Laura, all this time I thought you were in the UK! On your next travel adventure, you’ll have to do a swing through California in early autumn.
Ohhhh, no I’m in Oz. 🙂
We will be back in Northern California at some point. The Fashion Mister wants to spend a Thanksgiving there so hopefully it won’t be more than a couple of years more of holding out. 🙂
Are you both from the States? I hope to see you on your visit out. That would be awesome.
No, the Fashion Mister is Australian. Met him when I moved here. It would be cool to meet you next time I am in the US. We will have to plan for it when the time comes. 🙂
An international marriage. How fun! I have two friends living in Australia, and my husband has been twice on business. I’m dying to go one day, but so far, no luck.
Next trip make him bring you with!
I’m sure your two friends who live here and I can keep you busy while he is working. 🙂
I have no doubt! We would have so much fun.
The first trip I was scheduled to go with him. Then the trip was cancelled. Then they rescheduled it with five days notice, so I couldn’t get my visa in time. By the second trip, I had a baby so it was out of the question. You must love it there.
I am lucky in that I have built a good life here with wonderful friends and the Fashion Mister. 🙂 It’s like everywhere else though, not always fabulous but mostly so.
Yes, so true. I’m glad it’s mostly good. Good friends make all the difference in the world.
That they do!
I don’t know how I lucked into a good husband AND good friends. Must have really suffered in my last life. 🙂
Good people find good people. It may take time (I was 36 when I married Mike) but he was worth the wait. 🙂
That is very sweet. 🙂
I love that you included a slide show of pumpkin shots. Nice! Of course my favorite two are of Lindy and Slinky ;0)
Thanks for noticing the slide show. I’m glad you liked it. Our family love of kitties is legendary.
It’s stunning to see so many pumpkins in one place. We don’t seem to have a spot like that to go to unfortunately, probably because of the growing season being shorter here. I would imagine most at the markets come from southern locations. I like how you included a slide show with other photo’s, I couldn’t figure that out on WordPress. You’re so savy Alys. That’s a great photo of you too, looks like you were having so much fun. There’s a giant corn maze near Edmonton, being a long weekend it’ll be bananas so we’re going early! Hope your day is fabulous too!
Did you get any photos of the corn maze? That sounds like fun. We used to go in a small, hay-bale maze when the boys were young. I miss some of those young at heart activities.
As for the slideshow, I just learned how to do it this week, based on a WordPress email. Let me find it if I can and I’ll send it to you.
Good luck on Thursday.
I did get some pictures at the maze, I need to write a post because it was so fun. I have a number of emails to get through, I probably haven’t read that one yet. Thanks for the good wishes, fingers crossed…breaking even would be fine with me this week.
Breaking even is good, too. I gained…:-( I’m feeling pretty low about it. I was so good at tracking the first half of the week and did a ton of exercise too. She said I could be retaining water…blah, blah, blah. I’ve heard that before, but since I didn’t feel like I was…who knows. My clothes were heavier: last week, thin cotton dress, this week cotton pants and a shirt. Still…I gained over a pound.
I love all those pumpkins… we don’t have many over here so quite envy your traditions. Your display is still my favourite Alys x
Awww…that is so nice of you to say, PJ! Thank you. It’s such a special time of year with all those pumpkins. Maybe you’ll come visit some time.
You are so tech savy to do the photo slide show. There is so much I still need to learn about this blogging thing. I just unpacked 6 large cans of pumpkin that has been in storage for a year. I used to give my dog a spoonful every day for her tummy. The vet said it was good for them. Since my Schatzie is gone over a year now, it will have to become pumpkin bread for the holidays. I give loaves of it to the UPS, FEDEX and mailman during the holidays to thank them for all the extra hard work they have to put in. When I get a yard again, I’d love to try growing them. You inspire me in so many ways. Thanks.
You are so kind to say so! Thanks you! (hug,hug, hug).
My friend, Jayne, used to cook pumpkin for her dogs. They loved it, too. I didn’t know it was good for them, but I knew it was a favorite.
Those lucky UPS/FedEx/Mail carriers. How thoughtful of you to bake for them. You have a good heart.