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Come get your pumpkins at the Fresno market

| October 4, 2012

FRESNO – Regardless if you sit them on your front porch for Halloween or bake them into pies as a Thanksgiving staple, pumpkins are an autumn favorite and fall tradition. Ohio is one of the leading pumpkins producers in the US and the vendors at the Fresno Farmers’ Market are no exception.

Despite the dry summer, the pumpkins are big, bright and beautiful this year and the Fresno Market has a bumper crop. Did you know that a whooping 1.5 billion pounds of pumpkins were grown in the US last year? Amazing! Once again, I’m here to provide you with some “pumpkin knowledge.” So, pay attention, there will be a quiz later!

The pumpkin plant produces both a male and female blossom, so the honeybee plays an instrumental role in their pollination. Pumpkins are very versatile and full of nutrients. Only one gram of pumpkins seeds contains as much protein as a full 8 oz. glass of milk. The city of Morton, IL is self declared as the “pumpkins capital of the world,” due to the fact that they are the home of the Nestle pumpkin packing plant. Say that three times fast! The current world record pumpkin tipped the scales at a staggering 1,689 pounds. 

Jack-o-lanterns have been associated with Halloween since Civil War times. Folklore suggests that it was once believed that the cut-out holes of Jack’s face were used as portholes by demons to come in and out. If set outside of the home these vessels would prevent evil spirits from entering and exiting through windows and doors, keeping the house free from ghosts on All-Hallows-Eve. The name Jack comes from an Irish legend; that a mean, nasty and greedy old man named Jack; tricked the devil into climbing up a tall tree. When the devil reached the top, Jack then carved a cross in the bottom of the tree trunk so the devil couldn’t climb back down. In revenge, the devil placed an evil curse on Jack, condemning him to forever wander the earth each night with only a lit candle placed inside a hollowed out turnip. Americans later incorporated the pumpkin in place of the turnip, which was easier to carve. And there you have it; the ever popular Jack-o-lantern was born.

The vendors at the Fresno Farmers’ Market invite you all to make the beautiful drive out to Fresno for some unique farm market shopping. The hill sides are starting to turn into nature’s autumn palette of  fall colors, what could be better than stocking up your winter pantry with farm to table goodness, while enjoying a crisp autumn morning among friends. The gardens are slowing down, but there are still many worthwhile items awaiting you at the Fresno Market like: Peppers, onions, apples, red raspberries, potatoes, green beans, red beets, Swiss chard, without question pumpkins; not to mention: Amish baked goods, homemade bread and noodles, hand loomed rugs and even soy candles to put inside of Jack, plus much more.

Here is an easy recipe that also makes a great gift, plus it is excellent on toast.

Pumpkin Butter

1 (29 oz.) can pumpkin puree

3/4 cup apple juice

2 tsp. grd. ginger

1/2 tsp. grd. cloves

1 1/2 cup sugar

2 tsp. grd. cinnamon

1 tsp. grd. nutmeg

Combine all of the above in a large kettle, stir well. Bring mixture to boil. Reduce heat and simmer for approx. 30 minutes or until mixture is thickened, stir often. Transfer to sterile containers and chill in refrigerator until ready to serve.

Don’t forget to mark your calendars for Saturday, Nov. 3 for the annual Christmas in the Country Craft Show, to be held in the big red building. Spaces are still available for only $10 each. To reserve your table space contact either myself at 740-545-0849 or Kathy McCoy at 740-545-0997 anytime. 

The Fresno Farmers’ Market is located in downtown Fresno at Mark McCoy’s Auto every Saturday from 8 a.m. to noon. The official last Saturday for the 2012 season will be Oct. 27. Signs are posted.

Category: Community Columns

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