In the eighties and nineties, we might buy a pumpkin at the local shop and butcher a few gaping holes into it with the blunt bread knife. We would wonder what to do with the filling (that seemed no way appetizing) unaware that a few short decades later winter soup would happily include such a vegetable. We sat our single pumpkin outside and stuck in a candle. My husband talks about having a coconut at Halloween and everyone bashing away at the top to gain access to it. I had a toffee apple once or twice from Egan’s post office in Ferbane and a lovely memory of being there with my now deceased grand-aunt. Modern Ireland is full of traditions. Many are old (fruit brack)…some are new (calling the pookies trick or treat. Some just aren’t ours at all but we are latching on to them.We still haven’t reached pumpkin pie making in my house yet but we aren’t far off. (As far as I know pie filling is often gotten in tins stateside.) Talking of the US who go big at Halloween, we must admit here in Ireland that we are big old copy cats.
Who’s tradition is it anyway?
So to head to a pumpkin patch, pick a pumpkin and carve it up is a pretty new venture in my world. In today’s Ireland, gimmicks are everything and parents are desperate for another Sunday activity particularly after Ireland’s terrible show at the rugby. We are no different and off we went.
The patch we went to was called Mollie’s family farm in county Laois. A field full of pumpkins representing past, present and future (smashed up and rotted, ripe or green and growing) awaited us as did many other hopeful parents and their offspring ready to pick. For many, I saw the novelty was the draw and it was a nice morning to walk a muddy field in welly boots wearing autumnal shades. Not me of course, l forgot my plush scarf and bobbly hat but there you go. Missed a trick again.
Selecting takes minutes. We paid per pumpkin. Five euros for a little guy, 10 for a medium and fifteen for a biggie. Carving kits are available for three euros and a tent is open for the work to take place within.
A strangely out of season ice-cream van stood to one side with a rising queue uncaring of the chill lining up. My girls wangled two terribly-bad-for-you slushie type drinks out of their daddy naturally.
It was all over in forty minutes and home we went boasting a boot full of mud clad vegetables with faces.
Are we happy or are we a bit ripped off?
I do think it was nice to try.
I also think I could have gotten them in Super Valu for a euro apiece for the small ones. Cleaned already. No slushies.
Or maybe we did the right thing. Help out the little guy? It was definitely nice to get outdoors.
Every season brings its money making attractions and I must applaud the skill of the entrepreneur that makes this happen. A nice way for a farm to try something else in uncertain times.
It may not become our tradition but it’s fun to try new things. Or at least steal some one else’s tradition for a day and spend a lovely evening with your children carving and displaying the finished the product.