Great Pumpkin

CSA pumpkinI’m a big fan of gratitude, which is what I usually write about this time of year. On Sunday night as I was cooking the huge pumpkin included with last week’s CSA produce, I decided what I really wanted to write about is interconnection. Somehow it seems to fit in with gratitude. First of all, I was immensely grateful for the cooking directions that accompanied the pumpkin. I approached the process mindfully, first cutting it in half, taking time to notice the beautiful colors and shapes hidden inside. Even though orange isn’t my favorite color, I found the shades of yellow and orange quite lovely. I dug out the seeds and saved them for roasting.

As I prepared the pieces for baking, I thought of the farmers who grew this wonderful pumpkin. Their time, care and dedication to farming was ever-present in this vegetable that was about to be placed in my oven. I considered the farmers’ devotion to growing food in healthy soil that is respected and treated kindly. I felt appreciation for their efforts to make foods like this available to people like myself. After fully thanking the farmers for their part, I turned to the pumpkin itself. Its textures, smell and colors were a sensory experience that reminded me of our tiniest toddler Seeds. The parts of the pumpkin that weren’t edible went to our compost pile and the rest, once cooked, was stored in containers for future cooking projects.

Some of the pulp was quickly transformed into pumpkin curry soup, with a subtle taste of coconut. With my belly full of warm soup, I stepped into baker mode and found a great recipe for gluten-free pumpkin muffins (http://www.forkandbeans.com/2013/11/07/gluten-free-pumpkin-muffins/). It’s hard to tell what the final product will taste like, especially when using some of the alternative ingredients required with gluten-free baking. I count on the photographs to help me decide which recipe to use and the one I picked was delicious! As I pureed the pulp for the muffins, I thought of the farmers again and how their work touches so many lives. Savoring the sweet taste of warm muffins lingering in my mouth, I thought of how their nourishment will sustain my own energy. That energy, days later, has translated to conversations about food with staff members and parents, transplanting seedlings from our home garden to classroom gardens, sharing a muffin or two and committing these thoughts to the page. Lives of people that don’t personally know each other are intricately connected.

I’m not sure if the remainder of the pulp will find a crust by Thursday and be cooked into a pumpkin pie. What I do know is that whatever it becomes, it will continue to play a role in sustaining our web of life. The energy derived from its nourishment will keep rippling outward, spreading well-being and light-filled blessings to all who are a part of the Seed and each life that touches one of ours.