… From the desk of Jayne Battey

Meet Delilah. Wonderfully tangerine in color and currently about the size of a beanbag chair, she is Miramar Farms’ pride and joy for the 2013 pumpkin-growing season.

Miramar Farms giant pumpkin


Delilah had us worried. She was a late bloomer—planted as a sprout in May, she didn’t blossom until the end of July. But since then, she has really packed on the pounds. In a few short weeks we’ll get to see how she does in the Half Moon Bay Pumpkin Festival weigh-off, and while she is far too small to be a big winner, we wouldn’t mind earning some local bragging rights in the locals only competition.

The pumpkin competitiveness in Half Moon Bay starts getting heated around mid-July. You’ll see us at the Farmer’s Market—showing off  iPhone pictures of our favored blossoms, best vines, and special compost. And then there are the tragedies we share as well—the wind blown vines, the ravages of gophers, and, oh, the anxiety of split vines.

I keep thinking I am done putting myself and the family through this, but then a blossom like Delilah rises through the leaves and I am recommitted. Watering, feeding, taking duct tape to the split vines (it works by the way), setting up shields from the wind and the sun. And it has all been worth it. Delilah is just lovely, and I will defend and protect her to the end.

I can’t really explain this fascination with the giant gourd. It’s not just me by the way. Soon the roads in and out of Half Moon Bay will be jammed with visitors coming to see the pumpkins. This is big business in the community, and at Miramar Farms as well. We have grown just a couple dozen pumpkins of all shapes and sizes, but we’ll be setting up a small pumpkin patch (with the help of farmers who do this better than we do) and our guests are drawn to the rainbow of colors and varieties. Delilah is still the big draw—people rest a comforting hand on her and want to learn all about the care, feeding, and nurturing of this magnificent gourd.

Miramar Farms Giant Pumpkin

Luke keeps a close watch over Delilah.

Sometimes I think we need to do things, and experience things, just because we can. Pumpkins make us happy. I think it is as simple as that. They remind us of being kids, of Halloween, of giggling through the neighborhood trick-or-treating in the dark, of friends and family, and of uncomplicated moments when these orange, round, imperfect gourds could easily be worked into happy faces that lit up the night.

All I know is we are having a good time with this crazy community tradition–and our fun seems to make other people happy, and that’s good enough for me.

 The Half Moon Bay Pumpkin Festival Weigh-off is held on Monday, October 14th starting at about 7am at the IDES Hall on Main Street. Delilah, as one of the smaller entrants, will likely weigh in before 8am. Come down and cheer Delilah on if you are in the neighborhood!