Presidential pumpkins are eye-popping fun
It happened sometime during the season when children enjoy the thrill of being lost in a corn maze — when kids are invited to search a field of ripened pumpkins and choose the perfect one for carving a jack-o-lantern face. It was on one of those crisp autumn days that I was drawn to a small café right beside a pumpkin patch and corn maze on Airport Road, the highway that connects Wilsonville and Canby.
The café which had at one time been located in Wilsonville had moved to the country several years before I discovered it, but it looked as though many others had found it before I had.
It was well known for its delicious fresh baked breads and sweets, awesome sandwiches on croissants or bread, as well as pies and cookies. While enjoying my delicious turkey bacon avocado croissant lunch I was attracted to a high shelf circling the dining area. It held a display of uniquely decorated pumpkins of all sizes.
These were not traditional jack-o-lanterns — each bore the painted face of one of our presidents along with the dates of service to our country. The lineup started with George Washington and continued to our present leader. Each pumpkin was a different size and shape, but each one showed the artwork of the same artist.
I have lunched there several times and been awed by this unique collection every time.
Back in the days when our children carved pumpkins their artwork never lasted more than a couple of weeks before being smashed by neighborhood pranksters or suffering from mold where the seeds had been.
Wondering how this collection began, who was the artist, and how they preserved these pumpkins for all these years, I decided to do a little research. I returned to the cafe for another lunch.
The cafe is at Fir Point Farms in Aurora. I tried to squeeze in a question or two as I paid my bill. The friendly cashier could not answer many of my questions about the history of the collection but she did tell me she thought the artist was from Lake Oswego. A closer look at the orange globes made me question my assumption that each had been grown in the field. She confirmed that they were not field grown vegetables magically preserved by some mysterious process. They might have come from a catalogue or a hobby shop.
When October rolls around again children and adults will fancifully paint or carve faces on the giant fruit from the farm. School children will be loaded onto large yellow busses to take field trips to pumpkin patches and enjoy corn maze adventures. I will fondly remember such experiences with my grandchildren but hunger for warm pumpkin pie straight from the oven. Then I will whip a carton of cream sweetened with sugar and vanilla and sit down with friends to enjoy my spicy pumpkin treat.
Fir Point Farms is located at 14601 NE Arndt Road in Aurora. Visit firpointfarms.com to learn more.
Jeanie Oakleaf Anderson is a member of the Jottings group at the Lake Oswego Adult Community Center. You can learn more by Googling presidential pumpkins.
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