Monday, October 11, 2010

The Great Pumpkin(s) & Having Room to Grow

I'm not a photographer; I leave that difficult work to my much-more-competent-&-creative friend Wild & Crazy Pearl. But speaking of her, I went to a place today that she would've loved - Szalay's Sweet Corn Farm. In fact, as my mom & I wandered around the grounds, I could just imagine W&CP's blog post in the making, if she were the one in my shoes, & I thus felt compelled to take an abundance of photos, as she would do.

I know what you're thinking - "Sweet corn farm?" - & maybe you're rolling your eyes. And I know what comes next, too: A) "How hillbilly!" and/or B) "Dude, it's just corn." But dude, it's NOT just corn. And last I checked, there's nothing hillbilly about the locally grown food movement. Fancy big-city folks are always tryin' to jump on the locally grown wagon, right? But it's tough to farm amidst high-rises. Here in Ohio, where there's farmland a'plenty (I technically live in a city, I swearrr), we've got room to grow.

Szalay's sells everything from gigantron pumpkins to apricot jam to bags of pistachos to imported figs, which are not grown locally (refer back to the word "imported").

 

Approximately eleventy billion people were visiting Szalay's while my mom & I were there, making a slow browse nearly impossible. Still, we made our rounds & loaded up a basket of goodies - cherry tomatoes, a red onion, a huge cucumber, two avocados, a bag of snap peas, a block of pepper jack cheese, a loaf of homemade bread, a bag of Kettle Corn, apple cider &, um, a small caramel that I ate on the spot - for less than $26. Have I mentioned that a trip to the market in D.C. often cost $25 for just, like, crackers, cheese & Coke?

And there were pumpkins! Ohhh, were there pumpkins. My mom, however, seems to have instituted a new Halloween rule in my absence: No pumpkins on the front porch. It's too depressing when they're stolen or smashed, she says, so they only go on the back porch. But carved pumpkins are for showing off! My ego refused to allow me to carve a masterpiece of a pumpkin only to relegate it to the back porch, so I passed them up.

My favorite part of the afternoon was when a little girl, about 9 years old, took a seat atop a massive pumpkin & yelled out to her father, "I FOUND THE PERFECT PUMPKIN! It's only $32." She yelled it about four times before her dad came over & sighed one of those deep, fatherly sighs: "We can't..." He starts again. "It's a good one! But... we can't even fit that inside the car. No, let's pick one out over here." Nice try, kiddo. (I totally remember attempting the same let's-get-a-giant-pumpkin maneuver on my own parents at her age.)


Of course, like any kitschy Midwestern joint worth its Halloweentime salt, there was a faux graveyard, this time complete with a skeleton band. Just beyond it was a corn maze, complete with screaming children (which are my own definition of scary, no Halloween needed).

In all? We had fun:

I recognize that this post isn't exactly bringing in the high entertainment that I promised I'd continue to deliver post-D.C. But come on. THERE WERE PUMPKINS.
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