You too can join the movement and become a Long Island Cheese Pumpkin hero. Slow Food East End’s Halloween Weekend Potluck from 4:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m. at Hallockville Museum Farm on Sunday, October 30, will bring together the local school children, farmers and foodies who have banded together to save this threatened Long Island species from extinction – by making delicious food from its tasty flesh.
This kickoff event for the Slow Food East End Fall/Winter 2016 “Know Your Farmer” educational series will highlight The Long Island Cheese Pumpkin Project, one of the many awareness campaigns of The Long Island Regional Seed Consortium (LIRSC). These are folks who are rescuing seeds and heritage varietals from oblivion before it is too late.
While you nibble, you will learn. Speakers include Stephanie Gaylor & Cheryl Frey of Invincible Summer Farms and the LIRSC, and Ken Ettlinger who saved the Long Island Cheese Pumpkin seed when it was on the brink of disappearing forever. More on that in a minute.
You may not know that pumpkin is indigenous to the Americas. With beans and corn, it forms the Three Sisters – an ancient powerhouse combination of three plants that help each other grow when planted together and which provide just about perfect nutrition when eaten together.
The LI Cheese Pumpkin (Cucurbita moschata) is actually native to our area. It was once a staple of colonial life and became popular around the country as the premier pumpkin for pie. But by the 1970s, it had fallen out of favor (Edible East End’s own Laura Luciano, a founder of the LI Cheese Pumpkin Project, says its flattened shape made it hard for mass producers to move efficiently. “It wasn’t rolling off the conveyor belts fast enough,” she says.) That’s when Ken Ettlinger stepped in and began collecting the seeds and disseminating them wherever he could, including Edible School Gardens.
Today the Long Island Cheese Pumpkin is currently listed among the 200 foods in Slow Food USA’s “Ark of Taste.” It is enjoying a bit of a resurgence, thanks to local champions who have signed on to the rescue effort. If you would like to join them, bring a dish to share made with local ingredients – from the garden, CSA, or local farm stand or market. Long Island Cheese Pumpkin, perhaps? Each dish should serve 6-8 people. Bring serving utensils and a local beverage to round things out and to share with friends.
Laura Luciano hope that folks will get creative with their Halloween attire and their LI Pumpkin dishes. “I hope people try new things,” she says. “It’s not only good for pie!” Click here for inspiration from Laura.
Cost for the event is $15 for Slow Food members and $20 for nonmembers. Space is limited, so reserve your spot soon by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. Slow Food East End will donate a portion of the proceeds from this event to the Long Island Regional Seed Consortium, a not-for-profit organization dedicated to education, advocacy, and research to foster and nurture local seed systems.
Date: Sunday, October 30, 2016
Time: 4:00pm – 7:00pm