Emma Dawson

Contest held to guess the weight of locally-grown giant pumpkin

Monster gourd growing silently under leaves sparks contest to guess its weight

Joyce deBoer

Special to the Golden Star

You may recall that we wrote about the development of a Golden Farmer’s Market Cookbook.  That project is still in the works so you have time to send in your favourite recipe that uses local products.  At our house, we lucked upon an incredible pasta recipe that uses leeks and cream—always a winning combination—and gave it a title which uses a profane word to describe just how amazing it tastes, as in “The Best blankety-blank Pasta Recipe EVER”.  So, I’m going to re-name it and submit it this week. I also have two recipes using local “weeds” from the Columbia Shuswap Invasive Species Society which is trying to control some of the nastier invaders moving into our fields and waterways.  If you can beat ‘em, eat ‘em.

You must have a few recipes you use often because they are simple and delicious.  Share them with all of us and help the Farmer’s Market by sending them to irisch848@gmail.com — and do it now.

If you’ve been following this column, you may recall that Joan Titus and her daughter grow pumpkins and allow neighbourhood children the opportunity to scratch their names into the pumpkins’ skin while they’re growing. The kids then return to collect their own personalized jack o’lantern later.  Well, this year they found a giant pumpkin had been quietly growing under the leaves.  They decided to make a contest on Facebook to guess the weight of the monster gourd.  This weekend they found a winner in 10 year old Emma Dawson who was closest to the real weight of…..drum roll please….109 pounds (or 49.5 kilograms).  That’s more than double the weight the Titus pumpkins usually reach!  Joan said they didn’t do anything special to get this pumpkin that big and it’s only a little bit flat on one side.  If they’d known it was going to grow like that, they’d have rolled it around a bit to keep it round.  I’m going to suggest a name for that big one:  The Titus Titan.

Another garden that produced incredibly this year is the lovely set up at the Golden Food Bank.  During the height of summer the planting boxes were over flowing with tomatoes, beans, carrots and squashes.  Stephanie Findlater, the Food Bank Coordinator (and an incredible gardener), chose to plant foods that are the most expensive to buy.  As a example, they didn’t grow potatoes but grew tomatoes instead.  That way they maximized the value of their garden plot as a supply of fresh food for their clients.  Of course, it also looked lovely and inspiring.

Most of the planter boxes are empty now, as are most gardens around town.  Some people leave their gardens bare, tilled and raked over the winter and others cover the soil with leaves from trees or withered garden plants.  All of us are thinking about the weekend ahead when we officially take a day to give thanks for the bounty the earth, our muscles and the farmers who grow food have given us.

Backyard gardening, even a small lettuce or herb garden, keeps us in touch with the incomparable taste of fresh food.  The closer that food is grown to the plate it’s eaten from, the better the taste. If you don’t have a garden or can’t grow a year’s worth of vegetables, make a commitment to buy your food from the closest producer you can, at the Farmer’s Market or at the grocery store.  Choosing carefully while buying your food is the literal translation of the saying, “Put your money where your mouth is”.

Hope to catch up with you next growing season.  Bon appetit!

 

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