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Just-harvested pumpkins

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Our exceptionally productive plant grew 29 pumpkins.

Sometimes the most successful fund-raisers are spontaneous. A recent effort here at Gardener’s Supply started with a single pumpkin plant, which grew to massive proportions, sending its vines throughout our test gardens. By the end of last week, we had harvested 29 sugar pumpkins, tended by Deborah Miuccio, our test gardener.

We never expected such a large harvest, but we suspect that it was because Deborah fertilized the plant with Worm Power and used Pumpkin Pedestals to support each fruit. “What do I do with the pie pumpkins?” Deborah asked. “I’d hate for them to go to waste.”

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Kenena Montague and Susan Carroll enjoy pumpkin flatbreads.

Liz Lawrence, a member of the merchandising team, had an idea: “It could be a food-shelf fund-raiser. Get several people to make savory or sweet dishes with pumpkin and sell the results to raise money for the food shelf.”

Susan Carroll, another member of the merchandising team, took the idea from there and coordinated a three-day pumpkin festival in the lunch room at our Burlington, VT, office. Using pumpkins from Deborah’s harvest, a group of creative cooks and bakers created more than a dozen dishes, including:

  • Pumpkin sticky buns
  • Cinnamon pumpkin rolls
  • Pumpkin chili
  • Pumpkin roll with maple cream filling
  • Pumpkin whoopie pie with cream cheese and ginger
  • Squash bisque
  • Pumpkin flatbread
  • Inside-out pumpkin muffins with marshmallow filling
  • Pumpkin-ginger soup
  • Pumpkin ravioli

“Over three days we raised $261, which will be donated to the food shelf,” says Susan. “I think people had a lot of fun getting involved, and enjoying the food. No waste, even the pumpkin seeds were used.”

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Oriana Prescott brings a tray of pumpkin muffins to the fund-raiser.