Oscar's Delica Pumpkins
2 min read
This is our ninth year of Oscar’s Delica Pumpkins in the UK and the first year we have had them in New York. Year after year, Oscar continues to astound us with the quality of his Delica – a pumpkin with the densest, most sugar-forward flesh we’ve tried.
Back in late August, heat waves followed by hail storms in northern Italy made for a difficult season for any grower. In Mantua, Oscar had it all — this province of Lombardy suffered some of the worst crop damage in Italy. Fortunately, his losses were mitigated: in planting 30 percent more Delica Pumpkins than usual, the extreme weather only took him back to average yields.
mineral-rich soils, build complexity
Oscar’s land lies on the old reservoir of the river Po, where the clay soils are rich in minerals and organic matter — the key to nutrient-dense pumpkins.
withhold irrigation, intensify flavor
However, clay soils retain water which pumpkins will absorb if given a chance, diluting their flavor. A skilled grower must limit water intake while still meeting the plant’s essential needs.
Oscar elevates his beds and uses sheeting to protect them from rainwater. Expertly monitoring irrigation, he ensures his pumpkins gradually absorb nutrients from the rich clay soil but not too much water — a rare feat.
30 DAY CURE, BRIX HITS 16
The traditional process of ageing and drying pumpkins is fast disappearing due to the time, space and management it requires. It is also an additional gamble: if the cure goes wrong, the grower risks losing the whole crop.
Oscar is committed to leaving his fruits to cure in a woodstove-heated barn for up to 30 days, removing 30% of the moisture content and concentrating the sugars in the dense flesh. This year, their Brix hit 16, reaching as high as 22 in the past.
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