Oh the Pumpkins…and the Pumpkin Ginger Bread!

IMG_4699Every fall children and adults from all around SW Manitoba make the journey to Oak Lake and savor the season at the Meandher Creek Pumpkin Patch.

IMG_4630Now in their seventh year, the crew at the Meandher Creek Pumpkin Patch are quick to point out that it’s not all about pumpkins. It’s about family fun on the farm! There are plenty of family activities on offer for the young and the young at heart including: zip lining, a corn trail, a petting zoo, a straw Maze and bale pyramid, hay rides, pumpkin sling shots, duck races, a sand box, and the eternal favorite for little people, the pumpkin train!IMG_4731

Oh, and there are pumpkins. Lots and lots of pumpkins, squash and all manner or curcubites. The produce building houses a diverse collection of winter squash, pumpkins and gourds and offers something for everyone. Strange and unique varieties can be found nestled amidst more common fare and the sheer variety of produce guarantees that even the most discerning pumpkin connoisseur will find something they simply can’t leave without.Photo1-Pumpkin Patch

Those craving the unique and diverse flavor of pumpkins are not disappointed when they visit the patch. Wander into the gift shop and discover pumpkin cookies and the coveted pumpkin ginger bread. This delectable bit of baking comes to consumers courtesy of Tanis Pedobni. Her secret recipe is just the right mixture of original blend Meandher Creek Pie Spice, squash and loving care. Tanis says that the pumpkin ginger bread is such a hot commodity it’s hard to keep up with demand. “It’s one of those things that has become a staple and a tradition for people when they come here,” she says. “People get their bread and their cookies.” When I asked whether she would share her beloved recipe she agreed with one condition. The spice blend will remain a mystery, available for purchase at Meandher Creek. “We have to have our own little secret recipe,” she laughs.

Tanis says the trick when making her coveted pumpkin ginger bread is to use fresh and local ingredients (grown at the patch of course). “We use all of our own pumpkins, mostly Orange Smoothies and Sugar Pies. These pumpkins have a richer colour, a denser fibre and a higher sugar content. Most people don’t realize how easy it is to make pumpkin puree.” Tanis breaks it down: “Take your pumpkin, cut it in half. Scoop the seeds out. Place it cut side down on a baking sheet, throw it in a 400 degree oven and walk away for an hour. When you can stab a fork into it, pull it out. Peel it while it’s still hot and you’ve got tons of mash. You can freeze it too. Just put the puree in ziplock bags and pop them into the freezer.” (If you want more instruction, watch the video at the end of this post)

Meandher Creek Pumpkin Ginger Bread:
Makes 9, 1-cup loaves
Preheat oven to 350F

In a large bowl combine:
3 c. sugar
1 c. canola oil
4 eggs
2/3 c. water
2 c. Meandher Creek pumpkin puree

In another large bowl combine:
3 1/2 c. flour
2 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking powder
2 tsp ginger
2 tsp Meandher Creek Pie Spice

Combine the two bowls and mix well. Pour into 1 c. baking pans and pop them into the oven for 40-45 minutes.

With over a thousand visitors a day, the Meandher Creek Pumpkin Patch is able to please the masses by providing a fun filled day of activities as well as filling hungry bellies with delicious, home-made and home-grown delights. Get your pumpkin pie spice and pumpkins before they close at the end of October.

For more information visit their website at pumpkin fun.ca


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