Monthly Archives: October 2015

Pumpkin Time

image (5)

Pumpkins are fully in season now but they’re not just for carving into scary faces. I spoke to Jakki Harriman, our local pumpkin expert and super-mum of five.

Jakki and Robert planted the first seeds just 3 years ago and every year since then the pumpkins have grown in size, variety and number.

Carving pumpkin seedlings

Carving pumpkin seedlings

Growing well...

Growing well…

Fully grown

Fully grown






“We now sell a large range of pumpkins at Christmas Tree Farm Chesham. Our traditional Halloween pumpkins are available in a range of sizes from the tiny munchkin variety to very impressive large ones and in a variety of colours. In addition, we also sell Rouge VIF D’Etampes, Baby Bear and Becky Pumpkins which make much better “eating” and Crown Prince squash which are superb tasting and highly recommended by celebrity chefs such as HughFearnley Whittingstall and Nigella. All of our pumpkins are homegrown by ourselves on our farm just four miles outside of Chesham.”

Rouge VIF D'Etampes Pumpkins

Rouge VIF D’Etampes Pumpkins

It really is a family affair with not only Jakki and Robert working on them but their children and Grandad mucking in too especially at ‘planting in’ and harvest time when its all hands on deck.

Jakki also told me about her favourite pumpkin recipes…

“My favourite variety to cook with are the completely delicious Crown Prince squash with their mysterious blue steely skin hiding their attractive smooth, creamy orange flesh. I often make Delia’s melting cheese pumpkin soup and Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall’s pumpkin and lentil pasties with Crown Prince which Robert loves to find packed in his lunch box while he’s out working around the farm. But based on pure looks I would have to say that our Rouge VIF D’Etampes pumpkins are second to none, glorious bright red in colour they add some glamour to your doorstep or porch in the Autumn time”.

image (3)

Award-winning Crown Prince Pumpkins

Pumpkins are like natures answer to tinned food and it is easy to see why the first settlers in America were so fascinated by them. Harvested well and in time with as long a stalk (handle) as possible and then stored in a cool dry, dark room or cupboard they can keep for up to 4 months, enough time to help you through the winter.

Big Apple cooking!

When we think of American food we may think of ‘junk food’…hamburgers and fries!

What is the definition of Junk food? When asked this the children seemed to understand that these were foods full of fats and sugars with very little nutritional value. The confusion came in the understanding of how you can turn a food like chicken into junk food by frying it and chucking it in a bun with a huge dollops of mayo and fries on the side. Instead grill the chicken and cook some oven baked spicy chunky potato wedges with a nice crunchy salad on the side.

We all too quickly associate America with junk food but they have a lot more to offer than that! Every state in America has their very own special dish from pumpkin soup in New England to potato salad in Idaho.  They say that you can eat yourself around the globe in New York, which is famous for its delicatessens that sell all sorts of yummy stuff that’s good for you. Fruit, veg, salads etc. They also sell particular types of food, for example some specialise in Italian or Jewish foods. This is due to the huge migration to America. Each state has adopted or created their own version of other countries foods and some of their own. Here are a few dishes that are at the heart of the Big Apple and are as essential as the Statue of Liberty or the yellow taxis.

Apple Pie

Fried chicken and waffles

Hots dogs and chilli sauce or sauerkraut

Pastrami on rye

Cheese cake


Chinese ‘take out’

Hamburger and fries

Pancakes, bacon and maple syrup

How many of these are junk foods?