October is one of my favorite months. The weather begins to cool down, the leaves turn, foods get more savory, our anniversary falls at the end of the month (7 years!) and we get to pick out our pumpkins!
Ever since Farm to Family launched their market here in VA, we have always enjoyed getting our pumpkins from them. They always have a large selection of unique varieties outside of the classic smooth orange pumpkins you see everywhere, they offer up recipes you can make with the different kinds of pumpkins and it makes us feel good supporting a local business.
We set out to Farm to Family after our morning trip to the local farmer's market and had Tim's parents and of course, Basil, along for the ride. We ended up with four pumpkins this year, all Basil approved, and are looking forward to working with them hopefully as soon as this weekend. For now they are grouped out on our front walk — I just love seeing all the pumpkins making their way onto front stoops throughout our neighborhood as we get closer to the end of the month.
While looking for pumpkins at Farm to Family, we went out back to help Suzi bring some additional produce out to the front since they've been selling so many of their pumpkins so quickly. We loved getting a peek at the rows of fall plants they have growing on the grounds and boxes of squashes and gourds. We also came across these long spiraling shaped green gourds we'd never seen before:
Suzi told us they were called snake gourds (or serpent gourds) and can be used as seasonal decor or dried out for crafting — she showed us a couple they had left over from last year's season that she had dried out and made into rain sticks which I wish I had a picture of to share here.
We loved the idea of trying to dry one out on our own over the next year to turn into a rain stick for my nieces and nephew to play with when over at our house so we brought one home along with our pick of pumpkins.
While trying to get a nice photo of the snake gourd, inevitable shenanigans ensued:
Boys with their toys. What can ya do?
After researching (I mean, Googling) best practices for drying out gourds we learned it's best not keep it in the house since molding will occur and in some cases, trying to dry gourds outside over the winter helps speed up the process but they need to be hanging so insects and animals don't get to them. We also learned wiping the gourd down with a 5% vinegar solution about once a week will help keep down on mold buildup along with helping us keep up with the progress since this will be a looooong process. We plan to hang it on our screened in porch outside the house to start with and see how it goes.
Would love to hear your tips for drying gourds if you've tried it before?