Hallowe’en Harvest

CQKVNuzW8AATuePFinally picked the last of the squash on Friday (barring the odd butternut still hiding under the remaining leafy foliage) – and now the pumpkins are curing in the Little Tunnel, and squashes are curing in the chilli tunnel. The pumpkins were pretty great this year, and I thought the squash were going to be equally good, like last year; however there are probably fewer than I was expecting, especially of the butternuts compared to last year. This is probably due to the weather, and cruel winds that have been persisting pretty much all spring, summer and autumn: squash in particular are pretty fussy about chills. The butternuts have been especially rampant in terms of growing tendrils, but relatively not much fruit set: it’s interesting to see how well they’ve thrived next to the row of artichokes that, once big enough in summer, have provided a good windbreak for them. Many other growers I’ve spoken too have found the same problems this year, and have a much lower yield compared to last year. So I can’t complain really as I’ve been more fortunate than some.

IMG_20151016_155849The pumpkins at least were really great, and I’m still finding the odd Baby Bear pumpkin hiding under withering foliage out in the field; in total there were over 40 big baskets of pumpkins, from just 2 rows of plants (approx 70ft long each), yielding a couple of hundred pumpkins (mostly small roast-em-whole-sized Baby Bears, but probably 50+ each of medium and large). While I’ve sold quite a lot of the pumpkins already, there are a hundred or so still unreserved, waiting for the big selling week next week for Hallowe’en: unlike some of the mass produced cheap ‘n’ large versions, these pumpkins are also grown for flavour as well as carving! So if you’re getting a pumpkin this year, don’t forget to use up all that tasty flesh too: my favourite recipe is sweet pumpkin pie, and I’ve also given pieces to trick or treaters when the sweets have run out, which has gone down very well…

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