The Great Pumpkin

Why do we worship the great pumpkin at Halloween? Is it because of Charlie Brown? When we think of pumpkins do we just think of Halloween and nothing beyond?

As much as I love Charlie Brown, I’m going to fight back the imprint he has left on my mind as a child. I will say this. What draws me back to the pumpkin at Halloween is the thought of wielding a knife, cutting its top off and plunging my hand inside to pull out the brains. As my mind falls deep into thoughts of scary faces, with a medieval grin I plunge my knife in to carve my buck tooth pumpkin. I don’t know why I always made my pumpkins have buck teeth, but I did.

I usually got impatient with carving my pumpkin faces because I really just wanted to get to the fire part so that I could, with glee, admire my scary/buck tooth, smiley face great pumpkin.

It’s really kind of a useless act, this carving the pumpkin thing. What a waste. I suppose you can call it a success if you can create penicillin.

I had no idea that the Irish brought us the carved pumpkin. Thanks Irish. Now I realize, like you, pumpkins don’t come from Ireland. Hundreds of years ago, Jack O’Lanterns were made out of turnips and potatoes. It wasn’t until the Irish immigrants came to America and were introduced to the pumpkin and a new Halloween tradition began.

To fully know the pumpkin we must know what it is.

Dictionary: Pump-kin. Noun. A large rounded orange yellow fruit with a thick rind, edible flesh and many seeds.


You may ask, “A fruit?”

Seriously? A pumpkin is considered a fruit because it matches the dictionary definition of fruit. This is what the dictionary people came up with.

A fruit is considered the edible plant structure of a mature ovary of a flowering plant, usually eaten raw. Personally, if you ask me if a pumpkin is a fruit or vegetable, I’ll just say “yes.”

The pumpkin is part of the squash family, Cucurbita pepo. But, let’s not give up here. Let’s dive deeper into the world of pumpkin-ism.

Let me introduce you to Musque de Provence. Oui, oui. This heirloom variety is the historic cheese pumpkin from the south of France. If you were around in 1895, you could have purchased the seeds from Vaughan’s Seed Store in Chicago. Weighing up to twenty pounds, it looks like a cheese wheel. In the United States we know them as Fairy Tale pumpkins.

In France, they’re cut into wedges and sold in farmers’ markets for cooking. Because of their long shelf life, they are most often used for decoration. Come to High-Hand and get one. They’re available. Slice one up. Bake one up.

The skinny one next to Mr. Provence is a Northern Georgia Candy Roaster. Cherokee tribes loved this oddity for its ability to withstand winter frost and months of long storage. Bake it, fry it and make great pies with it. Roast it or stuff it. The Cherokee used the Three Sisters’ method of farming growing Candy Roaster and pole beans around the base of corn. This method kept moisture in the soil and kept the weeds down. Very smart, wouldn’t you say?

Pumpkin pie from a can? Are you kidding? Don’t be lazy. The round pumpkin in the middle is Winter Luxury Pie. Not Winter Luxury Canned Pumpkin Pie. It’s identified by the delicate white netting on the surface. Inside, it’s smooth, sweet and without fiber. It’s not the best keeper, so enjoy by Thanksgiving. Cooking hint: Cut the top off. Remove the seeds, put the top back on and pierce the outside with a fork. Kind of like poking holes in your baked potato so that it doesn’t blow up in your microwave. Bake it at 350 degrees for an hour-ish until you can poke a fork through the outer skin easily. Slice open, scoop out, puree, and whip out the secret family pumpkin pie recipe.

All of these and many more varieties are available at High-Hand. Freshly harvested this week from Maple Rock Farm, come get yours this weekend.

From a Cherokee Candy Roaster to a French delicacy and spaghetti squash, come to High-Hand Nursery for a fresh picked delight. Don’t forget Winter Luxury, the pumpkin of pumpkin pies and create a Mother’s treat this Thanksgiving.

I wonder if the French thought we were going to do this to their esteemed Musque de Provence? Probably not, but that’s exactly what we did. We created a beautiful Thanksgiving centerpiece.

Saturday, November 10, 10-11:30 a.m, join Dory for our last Pumpkulent workshop of the year. We will supply you with all the dried and preserved floral ingredients, as well as succulents from our own greenhouse. Mimosas and fresh baked treats will most certainly be provided. This work shop’s cost is $65, plus tax. Reserve your seat and mimosa by clicking here.

With the arrival of our heirloom pumpkins and squash, comes the arrival of another High-Hand tradition.

Join us Saturday, December 1st, 2018, for our Victorian Christmas Faire. Stroll, shop, eat, drink. We flip the switch precisely at 5:30 p.m, lighting up the entire nursery. Join us for this High-Hand tradition.

Next year let’s start a new tradition.

Happy Halloween. Come to High-Hand Nursery for great heirloom squash and bring home some history.

See you at High-Hand Nursery.


Autumn Harvest Salad

Autumn Harvest Salad



  1. Make vinaigrette: Combine balsamic vinegar, olive oil, mustard, salt and pepper in a jar and either shake vigorously or use a whisk to emulsify.
  2. For roasted beets or butternut squash: Peel, dice and spread evenly in one layer on a sheet pan, drizzle with High-Hand Olive Oil Company Sage & Onion Infused Olive Oil, salt and pepper. Roast at 400 for about 30-45 minutes.
  3. Assemble salad and enjoy!

The Transition

Life is always in transition. My daughter Tara finished her Master’s from Glasgow University in September. It’s kind of a bittersweet thing for me. For those of you who have nurtured children through their college, I think you would agree that that experience can be just as powerful as bringing Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny and the Tooth Fairy into your life again when a newborn comes around.

Tara, think about all the possibilities in front of you. It’s wonderful, isn’t it? Thank you for the incredible journey you have allowed me to be a part of. I love you, Tara. I just wanted the world to know that.

Welcome home, Tara

Transitions, transitions, transitions. We will never escape them.

Autumn is a time of transition for nature. Every September the process starts and quietly rolls along to be taken over by Winter.

I found a way to escape Autumn in September, October and November. Did you know that if you want to escape this transition you actually can? If you want to switch it up, switch it up. You can have Christmas in the summer time. You can be cold in July, experience beautiful spring blooms in October and autumn in April. How would you do this? Travel to the Southern Hemisphere. It makes perfect sense that it would be opposite. After all, toilets do flush backwards in Australia.

At High-Hand, Autumn is a magical time. Nothing goes backwards here. Always forward. Ever changing. Visit the nursery often. The trees are changing daily. We just received an entire semi truck load of Japanese maples and other great plants for Fall planting. Come to High-Hand to check it out. It’s a great time around here.

Need to be enticed a little more to come to High-Hand Nursery?

Years ago a Western apparel store was going out of business. Everybody flocked to buy things at 50-75% off. The funny thing was they were going out of business for six months, the shelves never emptied and new items showed up daily. Then, after the going out of business sale was over, they had a grand reopening.

Well, we’re going to have a garage sale again. This Friday and Saturday, look for the red flags and name your own price. We’re not doing this because we went out and bought a lot of cheap stuff and filled up the space again. We’re going to roll it one more time because we like you. We’re going to roll the garage sale one more time. After we deforested things there are still some great finds to be had. Roll on in Friday, the 19th and Saturday, the 20th and look for Adrian.

Now, if you don’t remember the rules of last week’s Name Your Own Price Sale, find last week’s email on our website to refresh.

A great holiday centerpiece for your table

Looking for a fall Pumpkulent to go with your fall colored tree? Then sign up for Dory’s Pumpkulent class.

I had no idea that a Pumpkulent was a holiday centerpiece. I had no idea what turducken was either. It’s a chicken crammed in a duck, crammed in a turkey. Why would you want a turducken as your centerpiece when you can have a Pumpkulent?

Happy Pumpkulent People

Enjoy the Autumn season by creating a beautiful centerpiece for your holiday table. We supply everything you need including treats and mimosas. Class is $65 plus tax. Sign up for one of the following classes:

Two great dates to choose from:

Click here to sign up for Saturday October 27th, 2018, between 10 and 12.

Click here to sign up for Saturday November 3rd, 2018, between 10 and 12.

Or sign up by checking out our classes and workshop page. Seats are filling up fast. Don’t hesitate to sign up for a Pumpkulent.

If you’ve forgotten what Adrian looks like, here’s Adrian. Here’s Adrian holding a red flag.

Come to High-Hand Nursery this weekend. Have fun! Don’t forget to take home a pumpkin.

See you at High-Hand.



Yes, Christmas is around the corner. Yes, the stores already had Christmas stuff for sale back in September. So, it’s not even Halloween yet! They just can’t resist. I just have a mental hold up to shoving Christmas out there too fast, especially before Halloween.

So, you did not see the Christmas poster announcing our annual Christmas tree lighting.

Green Apple White Balsamic Seared Scallops

Green Apple White Balsamic Seared Scallops



  1. Heat a large skillet over medium-low heat and add bacon. Cook slowly, stirring frequently, until brown and crisp. Remove the bacon with a slotted spoon and transfer to a paper towel lined plate.
  2. Drain excess bacon fat, leaving just about 2 tablespoons in the skillet. Increase heat to medium.
  3. Add scallops and apple slices to the pan and sprinkle salt and pepper to taste.
  4. Cook until the scallops are golden brown and opaque. About 2-4 minutes per side. Add bacon back to the pan to warm up.
  5. Serve the scallops, apples and bacon warm over a bed of spinach or arugula. Drizzle with High-Hand Olive Oil Company Green Apple White Balsamic Vinegar and garnish with Parmesan.
Harvest Baked Brie

Harvest Baked Brie



  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Place the wheel of brie on a lightly greased oven safe serving dish. (You will not want to transfer this after it has been baked)
  3. Spread Apple Walnut Butter on the brie and sprinkle with pecans and thyme.
  4. Bake at 350 for about 6-8 minutes. Don’t let the pecans burn!
  5. Remove from the oven and drizzle with High-Hand Olive Oil Company Pear Cranberry White Balsamic Vinegar.
  6. Serve warm with bread or crackers and fresh fruit.

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