Kevin & the love of pumpkin


What could be more taste-quenching than a chunk of well-roasted Kent matched to roasted potatoes, onions and boiled mint-flavoured green peas. Roast lamb added if you wish. Mint sauce if you want or maybe gravy.
Sounds very traditional, old-fashioned, bygone, I know.  Love it.
Then again the pumpkin can be boiled or microwaved or whatever.  It does not have to be Kent.
Kent just happens to be my favourite. One thing though….it has to be fully ripe. The amount of natural sweetener,  has to have time to develop to produce the intense flavour of a beautiful pumpkin.
There is the one other – to me – taste-quenching way to serve pumpkin……soup.  Thick but creamy with many taste-enhancing ingredients to match…and croutons!!

Growing up on a dairy farm during the 40s and 50s when rationing was around, we did not yet have refrigeration but we did have 2 houses with 2 vege gardens and many fruit trees. AND 6 big walnut trees. If you’re interested Google Earth 164 Hillocks Rd., Spring Creek, New Zealand and there it is …almost as it was when I lived there but now surrounded by hundreds of vineyards.
The farm also grew several acres of green peas – for canning. I am sure Watties will forgive me when I admit we did take some for meals.
Our vegetable garden grew the usual European staples including a wonderful asparagus bed. Away from the garden we would collect field mushrooms and buckets of walnuts.  I never attempted to eat the chestnuts that our one tree produced..still do eat them but I do the mushrooms.
All produce was harvested when ripe and stored or preserved to keep us fed all year round.
Apropos nothing….my father drank stout occasionally with the dregs poured on the nearest row of carrots which caused them to become extremely large. I like to think the stout caused the size. May be just a rural myth. It was more likely the amount of water and the intensely rich soil in which they grew.
Our pumpkin patch was outside the cultivated garden beds where the plants could run riot, which they did. There was a small, dark storage shed for the fruit to be kept for eating. Apples and pears were also stored there. Potatoes went under straw under an over-hanging pine tree where they lasted for months without sprouting.
It was great to have all the space available for planting and not have any concerns about pollution of the soil or the air. We did have floods and frosts and earthquakes but that is all part of the natural world and everyone coped.

What do you like most about the MBCG?
The Community garden has brought together a fabulous group of locals who have had to deal with obstacles which I did not have as a farm boy. What a pity it is that we could not just dig into the natural soil, plant, and harvest. Well, we dealt with the problem and we have thrived.