Pumpkins are bulging on the vines!

We are ready to start picking selected pumpkins and talking about World Polio Day October 24 and a Pumpkin Auction as we lead up to it. Watch for creative thinking! In the meanwhile, join us on Tuesday mornings to care for our plants from 7:30 a.m. (or what time works for you) until about 9:30 a.m. Contact Cathy if you can help at BakBraken Acres, 14283 Judy Lane (off Powerline) in Chicago Park.

If you missed our Pumpkins for Polio Pond Party, you missed out on some really good farm fresh foods (plus extras). Cathy's fresh baked blackberry and raspberry scones with berry sauces and crème fraîche were exceptionally delicious!

And pumpkins are blooming!

Big thanks to Cathy Wilcox-Barnes and John Drew owner of BakBraken Acres for creating a special partnership so our Club can grow Pumpkins for Polio. On June 26 we spotted our first pumpkin is forming! We are seeing more each week. We are now into managing our irrigation lines, fighting off the aggressive cucumber beetle, and gleaning delicious raspberries and boysenberries for ourselves.
Cathy grew the young pumpkin starts this spring. Farmer John, Chris Newsom, Walt and Sandy Stickel, Cathy's grandson Aidan and even little Tuco joined Cathy in Chicago Park digging in the dirt to plant pumpkins on May 30. Cathy, Tom Ryan, Rotary friend Gloria, and Robin have been going out through the summer to weed and care for our plants.We spent the early summer weeding plants and dusting with diatomaceous earth when needed to protect our plants.  
The pumpkins in the field were hand watered (largely by Farmer John) until we completed the irrigation installation. Mid-summer we laid irrigation lines and now clean emitters as needed (or not).  
In addition to caring for our pumpkins we are harvesting garlic, snap peas, tomatoes, peppers, raspberries and boysenberries. Thanks to John’s generosity we are taking our harvest home for personal consumption!
The intention is to harvest the pumpkins in October (about a 90-day growing period) and then sell and auction them in October. Our pumpkin harvest should be a perfect advance to World Polio Day on October 24!
We'll have to do some marketing and figure out the logistics of what/how to sell them but that's where a committee will come in. Right now, the focus is to get the remaining starts Cathy grew at home planted successfully harvested. Unfortunately, the 2-striped cucumber beetle is prolific this year due to the heavy, wet winter and they ate numerous pumpkin plants.  We won't be selling as many pumpkins on our inaugural event as we hoped but we are loving the raspberries and other good things to eat along the way!
BakBraken Acres Farm has been certified organic since the late 1970's. John Drew is one of the original organizers of the Nevada County Certified Growers Market which was at the Fairgrounds, the North Star House and now in Pine Creek Shopping Center. At one time he provided organic produce to a number of stores and restaurants in Nevada and Placer County but he is slowing down and this year he isn't planning on planting very much. We have been given access to an area of the farm to grow our pumpkins and also, if we wanted, I'm sure we could grow other vegetables. We also can have access to the raspberry patch if we help maintain it. 
The farm has a beautiful pond area and we are invited to go down for an early lunch or snack or whatever, on the days we go out to work. That's where we landed for our Pumpkins for Polio Pond Party! We continue to figure details out as we go.
It started with these little ones:
Learn more about Rotary’s End Polio Now.
Photo credits: Pixabay.com/WOKANDAPIX, Nevada City Rotarians, Rotary.org