Morning Glory Farm puts on its annual pumpkin festival

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—Marnely Murray

Morning Glory Farm in Edgartown will hold its annual Pumpkin Festival this Saturday, Oct. 15, starting at 11 am. The day will be packed with free games and activities for the family, such as hayrides, face painting, a hay maze, a pumpkin bowl, and more, along with a grilled lunch featuring farm favorites.

Family farm owners Jim and Simon Athearn can’t really pinpoint the exact year they started celebrating this festival, but they are sure it’s been over 15 years. As a thank-you to the local community, the festival takes place after Columbus Day, when the Island finally calms down. This season, they’ve grown about 32 varieties of pumpkins and 20 varieties of gourds. Yes, all the pumpkins on display and on sale at Morning Glory Farm are grown locally. Last year, they harvested 58 bins of pumpkins and gourds — each bin weighs in at about 800 pounds.

As usual, I’m looking forward to all the pumpkin-inspired foods, especially their pumpkin squares. If you can’t wait, here is a pumpkin roasting recipe from local cookbook author Susie Middleton.

Slow-Roasted Sugar Pumpkin  

Recipe by Susie Middleton, sixburnersue.com, adapted from “Fresh From the Farm: A Year of Recipes and Stories.”

This technique is my favorite for cooking sugar pumpkins and other fall squash that have a tough skin. Because the pumpkin halves roast cut side down, the skin acts as an insulator and trapped moisture steams the pumpkin through and makes it tender. Plus, the cut sides get a bit of caramelization. You can make dozens of things with the roasted pumpkin, from soup to muffins, pies, side dishes, pizzas, and more. One pound of pumpkin yields about 1 cup roasted flesh. You can store the cooked pumpkin, tightly covered, in the fridge for up to 2 days. It may give off a little liquid, but that’s no problem. Just drain it off or put the pumpkin in a nonstick saucepan over low heat to cook off the excess moisture.

Makes about 3 cups  

Unsalted butter, slightly softened

1 small (3 to 3½ pounds) sugar pumpkin  

Kosher salt

Maple syrup

Heat the oven to 400°F. Line a heavy rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil first, then top with parchment paper. Rub the parchment paper all over with a little butter. Cut the pumpkin in half lengthwise and scoop out the seeds (I use a big serving spoon). Arrange the pumpkin halves (cut side up at first) on the sheet pan.  

Sprinkle on a little salt, and drizzle just a tiny bit of maple syrup over the pumpkin halves. Then turn them over so that they lie cut side down on the baking sheets.

Roast the pumpkin until the flesh is very tender (poke and prod the neck end with a finger to be sure), the skin is very browned and collapsed, and the edges of the undersides are caramelized, at least 1 hour and up to 1 hour 30 minutes, depending on the size of the pumpkin. Let the pumpkin cool on the sheet pan. Gently turn the squash over and scoop the flesh out with a serving spoon (or your fingers), leaving all the skin behind.

Morning Glory Farm’s Pumpkin Festival will take place starting at 11 am on Oct. 15. For more information, call 508-627-9674 or visit morninggloryfarm.com.