Wide choice available
by John Symon
Many Montrealers plan to put a jack-o-lantern (pumpkins carved to look like a scary face) on their doorstep for Halloween. While pumpkins, which are grown locally, are sold at many retail locations, the best selection is usually found at the city’s public markets. To find out more, we spoke to a vendor at the Lachine public market, Pierre-Yves Beaudin.
“We have smaller, decorative pumpkins starting for 75¢ each,” explained Beaudin. “But most of our pumpkins sell for between $2 and $5. We also have bigger pumpkins weighing up to about 60 lbs for $15.” We asked him to hold up one of the bigger pumpkin for a photo, and Beaudin said it was so heavy that he was glad when he could put it back down again.
How big can pumpkins grow? A pumpkin grown in 2012 by Ron Wallace of Greene, Rhode Island is the world record holder, weighing 2,009 pounds according to Wikipedia.
And while many people who carve jack-o-lanterns throw away the seeds found within pumpkins, the seeds can be quite tasty if roasted lightly. One recipe suggests putting them on a baking sheet at 300 F for 45 minutes or until golden brown, stirring occasionally. The seeds are a good source of protein, magnesium, copper and zinc, again according to Wikipedia.
After Halloween, the flesh of jack-o-lanterns can be roasted, boiled, baked, or steamed to make numerous recipes, notably including pies and soups. Archeologists believe that Native North Americans first cultivated pumpkins as a food crop as early as 9,000 years ago. There is also some evidence to suggest that pumpkin flesh provides health benefits in controlling glucose and insulin levels, once again according to Wikipedia.
Meanwhile, a sign outside the Atwater Market indicates that the market remains open despite ongoing construction work to improve the site. Open air farmer’s markets are available in Montreal at the Atwater Market, Jean Talon Market, the Lachine Market, and Maisonneuve Market. These markets are open seven days a week from 7 a.m. until at least 5 p.m. and sometimes until 8 p.m. For more info, visit: www.marchespublics-mtl.com
On the West Island, another similar market is found at 11600 boul. de Salaberry
in Dollard des Ormeaux (DDO). Info: www.marchedelouest.com
Picture on top: Pierre-Yves Beaudin holds up a $15 pumpkin at the Lachine public market
Atwater Market, another good spot to find pumpkins, remains open despite renovation work
Photos: ©John Symon