Following the Pumpkin Trail
Pumpkins from here to there
An old farm truck bumps along the dirt road alongside a field, edged with sunflowers, where gleaners pick tomatoes for the local food pantry. We make a turn into the woods and come out at a corn field, then drive up a hill to the pumpkin patch.
Doug Race, third generation of the four-generation Race Farm in Blairstown, NJ, tells about pumpkins planted on high ground to protect from flooding rains, how a best patch, like this one, is set in virgin soil not yet infected with phytophthora, a disease that attacks vine plants.
The first row we walk matures jack-o-lantern pumpkins, their thick skins and deep ribs baking in the sun, turning the bright orange prized by pumpkin carvers. A few rows over, tan-colored cheese pumpkins ripen their heavy, dense fruit of fine textured meat that’s right for baking and cooking.
These pumpkins are destined for the Monroe Farmers Market in Stroudsburg, PA.