In a pumpkin shell, Gordon Skagit Farms

In a pumpkin shell, Gordon Skagit Farms

Gordon Skagit Farms showcases over 60 varieties of pumpkins, squashes, and gourds:  carving pumpkins, cooking pumpkins and squashes, specialty pumpkins, heirloom varieties, ornamental gourds, and apples, cider, ornamental corn and decorative cornstalks.  And the colors!  Sunset hues, to ghostly whites, sage, and blue greens.  Warty and smooth.  It’s worth the trip to revel in such bounty.

I found them quite photogenic, too.

Pumpkins lining a path, Gordon Skagit Farms

Pumpkins lining a path, Gordon Skagit Farms

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For Bonnie

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Gourds and Squashes

October 5, 2013

Display of mixed squashes

Display of mixed squashes

What is the difference between a gourd and a squash?  I know that squash, gourds, and pumpkins are siblings in the same family, but when do I call something a gourd and when a squash?  I wasn’t looking for a technical understanding, and so I like this description from Vivian Larson at Everyday Flowers:

“Typically gourds are not edible.  They are fibrous with a very hard shell.  Squash . . .  have a much higher water content, varies by variety and are all edible, not necessarily all good tasting though.    Squash can be highly decorative but will usually not keep as well as gourds.”

Now I know (and I think I mislabeled the turban squash below!).

Watercolor sketch of assorted squashes

Watercolor sketch of assorted squashes

Watercolor sketch of turban squashes

Watercolor sketch of turban squashes

Fall Pumpkins

November 5, 2012

Pumpkin and gourd harvest at Jello Mold Farms

Pumpkin on our front steps

“What moistens the lip and what brightens the eye?
What calls back the past, like the rich Pumpkin pie?”
— John Greenleaf Whittier, from “The Pumpkin

My favorite pumpkin pie recipe is really a sweet potato pie.  I featured this recipe in one of my early blog posts.  I make it often during the fall and winter, and always at Thanksgiving.  Here’s a link to my old post: https://rosemarywashington.wordpress.com/2009/10/10/sweet-potato-pie/

“The last fruit of summer becomes a lantern to guide us.”
— original quote by Eddie Gordon, on a sign at Gordon Skagit Farms

The old barn with Eddie Gordon’s pumpkin paintings, Gordon Skagit Farms

Pumpkins (decorative and edible) for sale

October is a perfect time for a drive in the country.  The charms of the harvest season are evident in the Skagit Valley, just one hour north of Seattle.  The snow geese are returning to their winter feeding grounds near Conway.  Farmers have gathered the bounty from their fields and are preparing for winter.  Apple trees are yielding their fruit.  And this is the month for visits to the pumpkin patch.

I met some friends to see the pumpkins at Gordon Skagit Farms near Mount Vernon.  The two Gordon brothers offer a wide array of specialty gourds and pumpkins, all grown locally on their farm.  During the month of October, this agricultural bounty — decorative and/or edible —  is showcased in strikingly designed displays, and there is a U-pick apple orchard and a U-pick pumpkin patch if you want to get your hands dirty.  The whole presentation is inviting and welcoming, but a definite step up from a gimmicky Halloween destination.  (The Gordons have created a haunted barn, with little staged vignettes, but I won’t spoil your surprise now.  I’ll do another post about the haunted barn on Halloween.)

My favorite aspect of my visit was definitely the art.  Eddie Gordon displays his large paintings outside amidst the farm implements and pumpkins.  It’s like a gallery show en plein air.  I don’t want to overwhelm you, so tomorrow’s post will focus on the art.

Today’s post celebrates the harvest — the pumpkins and the gourds.  Enjoy!

Pumpkins for sale — Gordon Skagit Farms

I loved these turban gourds.

Mini-pumpkins in orange and white. If you have an old wooden pop bottle case, display these little pumpkins instead of pop bottles.

Pumpkin on an old yellow Ford tractor.

A school group in the U-pick pumpkin patch

Decorative Indian corn and straw flowers

Apple baskets

An unusually beautiful gourd — love the color and texture and shape!

Mixed gourds — such variety!

Green striped gourds by the barn — Gordon Skagit Farms

Sneak preview of one scene in the haunted barn. Stay tuned for a post about the barn on Halloween.