Friday, October 1, 2010
The Great Pumpkin (Hunt)
I took a few days off last week to soak up as much of the lovely fall weather before the first frost sets in. Unfortunately, Mother Nature put a damper on my plans. After a blessedly dry month, it rained -- a lot -- during my three-day vacation. I spent my vacation days looking at the window, waiting for a break in the rain so I could drive to a local apple orchard or hop on the bike trail.
On my last day of vacation, I decided enough was enough. The rain wasn't going to stop me from a finding a pumpkin patch. I wanted to get my hands on some butternut squash! My hubby has been urging me to check out a pumpkin farm north of Ames, DeMoss pumpkin patch, ever since he fixed a garage door at the farm a few years ago (my husband is a repairman). So I jumped in my truck, turned on the windshield wipers and made the misty drive to the DeMoss farm.
My husband was so right about this place. I drove up into the farmyard, and there were pumpkins piled up everywhere. The farmer, Dick DeMoss, was loading up a hayrack and van with pumpkins and squash for the Ames farmers' market later that day. But he still took the time to show me the different kinds of squash he has to offer.
He was quite the salesman, as you can tell by my haul. I picked up three different kinds of squash, plus a few decorative pumpkins.
I asked Mr. DeMoss how to cook the little squash. He told me to pop them in the microwave, then slice them in quarters or in halves, "add your brown sugar" (now that's my kind of vegetable!), and then plate them as individual, personalized servings. He grows the tiny squash for local restaurants, since they make such a lovely presentation.
OK...my food plating skills aren't so lovely, but you get the idea. This squash was very mild tasting. My hubby cooked it in the microwave with some brown sugar and butter, which ended up like a caramel topping for squash. Yum!
I also bought a gorgeous round pumpkin for my front porch. And as I was paying for the squash, Mr. DeMoss asked if I would be interested in buying a watermelon. Uh, yes please! I didn't even know watermelon were still in season.
Then as I was loading up my truck, Mr. DeMoss asked if I would like to see all the pumpkin pecan bread his wife was making for the farmers' market. Uh, yes please! So he invited me, a total stranger, to step into his house, where there were dozens of just-made loaves of quick bread, cinnamon rolls, pies and kringla in their kitchen. His wife, Letha, spends all day Wednesday and Friday baking for the Ames farmers' market. In between time, she makes jellies and jams using locally grown produce.
I regret that I didn't have a camera with me (I'm still too embarrassed to take pictures of other people's homes), but I did end up taking home two loaves of pumpkin pecan bread to share with my family and a loaf of coconut bread, because it looked so darn good.
Like I said, Mr. DeMoss was quite a salesman. He invited me to come back and visit on the weekend, when they offer hay rides and bonfires. I told him, "Oh, I'll be back."
So please, pretty please, if you are in the Ames area, stop be the DeMoss farm. It's located north of Ames -- take Highway 69 north of town until you hit the little town of Gilbert, then travel east on 170th St. His farm is just west of the Gilbert railroad tracks. I had no idea that I lived so close to a 6-acre pumpkin patch. For once, I'm glad I listened to my husband :)