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Oh My Gourd!

October 31st, 2017

“Only the knife knows what goes on in the heart of a pumpkin.”
–Simone Schwartz-Bart

Pumpkins, squash and gourds are all members of the same family that contains over 100 genera and over 700 species. The word “pumpkin,” which has no real botanical meaning, originates from the Greek pepon, meaning “large melon.” Over time this had been adapted to pompon (French), pumpion (British), and ultimately the American pumpkin.

Pumpkins are believed to have originated in Central America over 7,500 years ago. The oldest domesticated pumpkin seeds were found in the Oaxaca Highlands in Mexico. These original pumpkins, small, hard and used mainly for their flesh, were among the first crops grown for food in North America. Today pumpkins are grown around the world and used for everything from holiday decorations to feeding livestock.

Autumn is the pumpkin’s time to shine! From “scented” or “spiced” to Halloween jack-o-lanterns and Thanksgiving pies, pumpkin rules the season. Here in the Northwest Corner, pumpkin lovers can find their favorite forms of pumpkin at coffee shops, supermarkets, fall festivals and more. A perfect way to spend a beautiful Autumn day is to visit one of the many farm stands or farmers markets throughout the region.

Sharon, CT‘s Ellsworth Hill Orchard & Berry Farm, offers pick-your-own pumpkins (or apples). Visitors can also enjoy a hayride farm tour or navigate the corn maze. Their onsite Mother Nature’s Candy Store offers fresh baked goods and apple cider, all homemade from produce grown right on the farm. Their website offers some of their favorite recipes from Apple Crisp to Pumpkin Soup.

In nearby Millerton, NY is Daisi Hill Farm. Open daily from 9am-5pm, Daisi Hill offers a wide variety of their own produce, including a huge selection of pumpkins, all in a relaxing setting that includes a small petting zoo. Weekends are full of family fun, with their corn maze, pumpkin cannon and catapult, and playground. Daisi Hill is located at 438 Indian Mountain Road in Millerton. For more information, call 518-789-3393.

Located in the shadow of the Monument Mountain nature preserve in Gt. Barrington, MA is Taft Farms. Committed to sustainable agriculture, Taft Farms is open 7 days a week and offers freshly harvested seasonal produce, Farm Store, and greenhouse. While picking out pumpkins here, be sure to visit the turtle pond, animals including goats, llamas, bunnies and more, and Gideon’s Garden, the farms 1-acre youth community garden. Finish up your visit by enjoying a delicious lunch from the Farm Deli!

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