Wednesday, October 5, 2011

adventures in pumpkinland

It's October.  The minute the month most associated with a deep burnt orange color ticked into being, before the last bell of a clock striking midnight faded into the darkness, food bloggers everywhere were already writing sonnets to show their love and devotion to pumpkins.

That is not what this post is about.  We literally went to Pumpkinland today.

We were greeted by these guys.  I have no idea if they serve any practical purpose or if they're just for decor, but a whole row of them "welcoming" you to Pumpkinland is both charming and unnerving all at once.

These "Jack Be Littles" on the other hand, are adorable.  I wanted to adopt them and take them home.

White Pumpkins!  Martha said they existed, but until today, I'd never seen one.  I stand corrected and now I want to turn them into candle holders.

We've been meaning to go to Linvilla Orchards for at least a month, but every time I had a day off, it was raining.  Today, though, there was (for the first time in a month) a 0% chance of rain.  I got up relatively early, met my dad for lunch at National Mechanics (they say they have the best veggie burger in the city - they may be right!) and a short walk around Old City/Independence Mall area, and after a quick stop into Superfresh on the way home, I grabbed Mister and we headed out of the city and to Linvilla.

Linvilla Orchards is split up into a few different parts - it has acres of farm land where you can "pick your own" whatever (apples, pumpkins, berries, etc) depending on the season.  They have hayrides and special events throughout the year, but they really seem to put the most effort into Halloween.  We stuck to Pumpkinland and the Farm Market, but they also have various attractions you could expect at a county fair or something, including a petting zoo....not so fun.

Goose Gourds!  Can you see why?
There was a display of expertly carved pumpkins, too.  Here are some of our favorites:

Pumpkin Pi - get it?  Dorks.

too much Sam Adams Octoberfest?
In addition to bins and bins of pumpkins and gourds of all shapes and sizes, including squashes for eatin', too, they construct a display with a theme.  This year's theme was faerietales.

Monster mansion w/graveyard.  What's amazing?
The sky really was that blue - it's not part of the scene.

not a faerietale character, but have you ever
seen a scarecrow that huge???

After all the outdoor fun, we were quite finished with squinting and uselessly shielding our eyes with our hands while making that completely unattractive scrunchy face people make when they squint in the sun.  We headed into the large glass house and were immediately greeted by a bin of "Wee Bee Littles" and Goose Gourds dressed up as...geese.  Someone has way too much free time (and is probably also a Martha fan).

Continuing our tour of Weird Stuff I've Never Seen Before, we turned around from the Floral-Clad Goose Gourd Army to see Snake Gourds.  I don't even know what you do with those.  Are they for looking at or for eating?

Finally, after getting some fun foods to renew our energy, we went into the Farm Market.  We bought a whole bunch of unnecessary stuff that is also fun.  Here is a small sample:

They have about 100 different hot sauces, possibly more.  Most of them are relatively mild, according to Mister, being made with jalapeno, habanero, or cayenne peppers.  Nevertheless, whenever we go, we get a new hot sauce for him to try to burn his own face off (all it takes for me is a stingy pinch of cayenne).  While contemplating the Wall O' Hot Sauce, he wondered aloud if there were any hot sauces made with Ghost Peppers.  I told him I thought that was probably illegal, so no, but then I plucked this guy from the shelf.

911 Hot Sauce is not made with Ghost Peppers, but it is made with Scotch Bonnets.  Neither Mister nor myself have ever seen a hot sauce made with Scotch Bonnets, so into the basket it went.

That this came home with us is one part October, two parts marketing.  Don't you want Old-Fashioned Ginger Snaps in a old-tymey lookin' bag?  We did.

Treats in hand, we headed back to the city and I started dinner.  I found that I was not actually interested in making anything on my menu tonight (mainly because I'd been running around all day, even if it was fun stuff), so I improvised a little.  We still had a ton of Mediterranean Stew leftover from last week, as well as two Tofurkey Italian sausages that needed eating, so I boiled some brown basmati rice, diced the sausages and sauteed them briefly before adding the stew to the pot, and then magically, dinner was ready!

Looks almost as hearty as the Harira I had been gearing up to make.  Also, I realized something when I opened the lid on the leftovers and for a brief, horrific moment thought the asparagus pieces were green beans.  My life would be so happy if a) we lived somewhere with plentiful, local (= cheap) asparagus (you know, like Scandinavia), and b) I substitute asparagus for every time a recipe wants green beans.

I don't really have anything against green beans, but asparagus is so much better.

Until next time, may you have apple butter wishes and pumpkin spice dreams!


  1. I don't know where to begin with so much awesome compiled into one post! I am itching to try out that ghost pepper hot sauce (I'm a fan of heat) and those ginger snaps (my fave). The facebook pumpkin is incredible as is that goose gourd.
    Looking forward to hearing more from you this MoFo!

  2. I officially love everything about this post. I'm aching to go to a local version of Pumpkinland to get more in the spirit, and your post is pushing me over into needtoresearchthemnow! territory.

    Happy to have found your blog, and am looking forward to your other MoFo posts!

  3. aww, thanks, ladies! Welcome - I'm so happy you've visited! I hope you are both able to find your own Pumpkinlands, because Mister and I spent all of yesterday thanking each other for such a lovely day together and I want you to have the same joy!

  4. The pumpkin pi lantern was AMAZING!

  5. I never knew a Pumpkinland existed, but I'm wondering how I survived fall without one? Thanks for taking me on a walk through autumn fun (I live in Hawaii) through your pictures!

  6. Kristen and Micah - glad you enjoyed the pictures! Kristen, do they even have pumpkins in Hawaii? the logical first reaction would be to tell you how lucky you are to live in Hawaii, but I'll be honest - I don't know that I would want to live somewhere that doesn't have autumn... it's my favorite season :)

    thanks for visiting!