Let there be pumpkins
WE read about pumpkin season before departing for autumn in the US, but nothing quite prepared us for the voracity with which New Englanders celebrate harvest.
Autumnal displays graced many a weatherboard doorstep in Boston, where squashes and gourds of all shapes and sizes were paired with pots of russet-coloured daisies and clusters of ruby-red corn.
We spotted dogs in pumpkin-themed costumes and supermarket aisles were awash with seasonal offerings. Pumpkin Pop Tarts, anyone?
In Vermont, we stayed at a family home, replete with an extensive vegetable garden, which meant homegrown pumpkins. The younger members of the family had engraved their names into baby vegetables and watched their handwriting grow as the pumpkins took shape in preparation for Halloween.
On a sunny Sunday bumper-to-bumper drive up the mountain to Stowe we encountered the ultimate roadside stand — a complete paddock neatly lined with thousands of pumpkins for discerning locals to inspect, select, take home and decorate.
On Cape Cod the change of season brought a cold blast of wind and we huddled on the beach to watch the sun disappear across the pretty Hyannis Port harbour, with an aperitif of pumpkin-pie soda, the kids munching pumpkin-spiced tortilla chips.
I picked up a Martha Stewart Living magazine and noted that no-carve pumpkin embellishment is the go for last-minute decorators — according to Martha, all you need is a can of spray paint, a pair of lacy stockings and 15 minutes to reach your pumpkin-decorating peak.
Back in New York, we hunted out family-friendly activities and spent a morning at a Greenwich Village community garden. Our kids ate crisp, just-plucked apples while decorating pumpkins. En route to JFK airport for our return journey, we stopped for inflight supplies. The children counted out their remaining US currency, desperate to purchase one last souvenir. The pumpkin-carving kit, complete with six levels of knife serration, was stuffed into checked baggage.
Come April in Australia, while the snow is melting across New England and the buds are unfurling in Central Park, we’ll head to our local farmer’s market and pick out the biggest, brightest pumpkin we can find. The knives will come out for a serious crafternoon.
But please, make my refreshment a long black. I’ll pass on the pumpkin-spiced latte. Send your 400-word contribution to Follow the Reader: email@example.com. Columnists receive a pair of quality beach towels in bright prints and structured geometrics from popular lifestyle brand KAS Australia. $119.90 ($59.95 each). More: (02) 8035 2244; kasaustralia.com.au.