We are deep in the heart of pumpkin season. For local happenings, folks in the Willamette Valley depend on Bauman Farms to get with the program—especially now that their Fall Harvest Festival is in full swing. I’ve heard their Pumpkin Patch referred to as the Disneyland of Pumpkin Patches. Known far and wide for more than hay rides, corn mazes and tunnels, apple tastings and pumpkin hills, students by the busload line up for a jolt of their mayhem madness.
I stopped by on a recent pumpkin scouting expedition and was not disappointed. With so many different varieties to choose from, they were helpfully organized by category and color. I stayed basic and settled on a very innocuous 5 pound Cinderella pumpkin.
It is so named because it is reminiscent of the pumpkin Cinderella’s fairy godmother transformed into a coach for her trip to the ball. It is a little flattish, with deep indentations; the skin is a dazzling red/orange tinged with shadows ranging from coral to eggplant.
The Cinderella pumpkin is highly regarded for its meaty deep-orange flesh and sweet, nutty flavor. It has quite the lineage, too, with roots that harken clear back to France; so far back, the Pilgrims are thought to have served a variety of it at their second Thanksgiving in the new world. Excellent stock, with historic significance—certainly ripe with culinary distraction potential.
Since Bauman’s features both produce and nursery items I headed over to the garden shop and poked around. I discovered a couple of inexpensive spot color plants: a wine colored oxalis (shamrock plant) with bright white flowers and a trailing beauty called Superbells Coralberry Punch displaying showy lipstick-pink blossoms with magenta centers.
A few days later I cut off the top of the Cinderella pumpkin, scooped out its seeds and filled the interior with the plants.
This could not have been simpler; so much for complicated carving. I’ll probably add a bit more potting soil, but for now, it looks cheery—and not very scary—as it graces the entrance to my front door.
As an added perk, I gave the seeds a good cleaning, soaked them in a saline solution for a couple of hours and let them roast slowly in a 325-degree oven for about an hour. A nice little bonus.