Discover more from The Wallfish Journal
"A fantastic seasonal harvest hodgepodge" [WFJ #38]
Produce swaps, workshops, and family-friendly fun at Frome’s first Pumpkin Day
Is attending a harvest swap a political act? As well as a means to share gluts and save food from going to waste, it does, after all, play into the ideals of food sovereignty.
And food sovereignty, as a school of thought, puts the production and distribution of food in the hands of the local populace, as opposed to defaulting on corporations like supermarket chains to dictate what we eat.
Harvest swaps want to be democratic, and Frome’s inaugural Pumpkin Day, in the Cheese & Grain this Sunday, is pitched as such. “It’s as simple as people bringing what they want to swap and choosing something they'd like instead,” says Caroline Wajsblum, co-founder of Frome Field 2 Fork and organiser of Pumpkin Day. “Whether that’s things like fresh fruit and veggies; preserves like pickles, chutneys, jams, and dried herbs; flowers; and recipes. There will be the opportunity to pay a donation if they don't have anything to swap.”
Caroline also organises Frome’s long-running Potato Day seed swap, which runs every spring out of the Cheese & Grain. “I'm hoping Pumpkin Day’s going to be a marker in the year because the potato seed swap is at the beginning of spring and you feel that energy of moving forward into the season,” she says. “This time, I thought it'd be really nice to have something almost the opposite, reminding us that actually, we can grow stuff the rest of the year.”
Not least because the Cheese & Grain has a lot of space to play with, Pumpkin Day will present other ways for people – not just home growers and preservers – to get engaged with food and seasonality. There is, for example, set to be 19 stalls, including social horticulture programme Root Connections; perennial nursery In Clover; bee-friendly setup Meadow In My Garden; SHARE shop with their garden tools for hire; and the forest school Shared Earth Learning.
On top of that, there’ll be workshops, talks, and demos, like apple juicing with Dowdings; seed packet designing with Frome Seed Library; an introduction to the fruits we forgot by Tender Loving Kitchen chef Jo Harrington; pumpkin carving; face painting; pumpkin recipe swaps; and halloween crafts. “I always try to make [these events] family friendly with some food for thought,” says Caroline.
All in all, Frome’s very first first Pumpkin Day promises to be a celebration of autumn and a convivial redistribution of excess. That is, whether you are or whether you aren’t an allotment holder with a glut of cavolo nero, or a windowsill gardener with herbs coming out of your ears. “It’s going to be a fantastic seasonal harvest hodgepodge,” Caroline says.
For every new WFJ reader, and especially every reader that goes paid, the more likely content like this will continue to serve the Frome community