On Your Table: The Chadds Ford Great Pumpkin Carve

Pumpkins and squash also make for delicious recipes, including roasted Kuri Squash

By Cathy Branciaroli, Food Correspondent, The Times


Joe Mottola begins carving what would become a winning entry at the Chadds Ford Pumpkin Carve, held this past weekend, co-sponsored by the Chadds Ford Historical Society and the Concordville-Chadds Ford Rotary.

CHADDS FORD — The three-day Great Pumpkin Carve that took place last weekend is a long-standing Chadds Ford tradition that began in the early 70’s with artists Andy and Jamie Wyeth.  It since has grown to a family-oriented community event with nearly seventy carvers participating.   This year’s top winner was Tony Mottola, a veteran of nearly twenty years of the carving competitions.  He and his friend Rick, a local restaurateur, spent nearly three hours working on their masterpiece, which was named best overall for their high degree of detail, their skillfully carved design and, in the judges’ view, the best use of their pumpkin’s shape.     

I asked the guys what draws them year after year to the event.  Joe and his friend agreed that it’s a whole lot of fun in support of a good cause.  The Great Pumpkin Carve Event is co-sponsored by the Chadds Ford Historical Society  and the Concordville-Chadds Ford Rotary.


And the after, Mottola’s Best In Show winning effort. Photo courtesy Chadds Ford Historical Society.

This year’s designs ranged from whimsical to bizarre  – inspired by movies including The Nightmare Before Christmas and characters such as Ninja Turtles. In some cases, power tools including high-speed drills, were used to create the desired effect.  Everyone seemed to be having a great time despite the cold and blustery conditions during the carving Friday night.

The pumpkins themselves are native to the area, grown by H. G. Haskell of SIW Vegetables in Chadds Ford.  They weigh between 150 and 400 pounds. Most of them are of the variety “Prize-Winner,” a, bright orange giant pumpkin.   H.G. said that there is always a mix of the “Prize Winners’ and “Atlantic Giants” which tend to be paler and sometimes a less regular shape.  He said that he has been holding his breath since the pumpkins were planted in June, as cold, rainy weather can lead to disasters in the field.  This on the other hand, was a great season for pumpkin growing, with just enough rain and warm temperatures to nurture the giant squashes, he was happy to let me know.


Carvers set to work last Thursday evening.

Haskell raises a wide range of pumpkins and squash for sale at SIW Vegetables.  His favorite for cooking is the so-called “peanut” pumpkin, which gets its name from the distinctive peanut-like growths that develop on its shell.   He described it as a French variety, as this type of Hubbard squash originated in the region of Eysine, France.   It is covered in beige bumps that are caused by sugars seeping out and hardening on the surface.  Trust me, it is odd-looking, but he said that what it lacks in attractiveness is made up for by its sweet flesh that can be used in many kinds of dishes.

My own favorite is the red Kuri Squash, which is a thick-skinned, pink colored winter squash that has the appearance of a small pumpkin without the ridges.  Kuri Squash also belongs to the Hubbard group.  Inside its hard outer skin is a firm flesh that offers a very delicate and mellow chestnut-like flavor.  I like to peel them and then roast bite-size pieces with olive oil and fresh rosemary.


Roasted Kuri Squash with Rosemary

A winter squash with firm, brightly colored flesh much like a sweet potato, roasted Kuri squash makes a tasty alternative to traditional fall side dishes.

 1 medium Kuri squash, peeled and cut into to 1 inch pieces

1/3 cup olive oil

1 Tbs crushed garlic

1 Tsp salt

¼ Tsp crushed black pepper

1 Tbs chopped rosemary

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Marinate squash in a zippered bag with olive oil and herbs.  Place on a foil-lined baking tray and bake for 40 minutes.  Serve warm.

Cathy Branciaroli also writes about her adventures in the kitchen on her blog Delaware Girl Eats

   Send article as PDF   

Share this post:

Related Posts

Leave a Comment