As a college student, I’m always looking for things to do over the weekend. Last weekend, my roommate, friend and I traveled to Morton, Ill., the pumpkin capital of the world. We were welcomed with a festival in honor of the canned food we all love to eat.
Libby’s Canned Pumpkin is a monopoly in the pumpkin industry. (It’s Libby’s or grocery store generic canned pumpkin ... I think I’ll take Libby’s.) Anyway, Morton is home to the Libby’s factory, so you can only image what the festival tasted like.
There was pumpkin chili, pumpkin pancakes, pumpkin ice cream, donuts, cookies -- sweets galore! In addition to the fall foods, the festival was a standard small-town fair. A princess pageant, parade, carnival, craft fair ... you get the idea.
However, there was something that struck my eye: the biggest pumpkin competition. I thought that the pumpkin festival was all about pumpkins from the patch, not the canned industry, so I was expecting lots of fresh pumpkins. These were the only real pumpkins at the whole festival, the winner weighed in at 856 pounds!
The other cool thing about the festival was the batch of recipes that local cooks suggested. All containing at least one can of Libby’s, some recipes included pumpkin pizza (two cups pumpkin in the pizza sauce), pumpkin meatballs (pumpkin also used as the sauce) and a pumpkin peanut butter sandwich (you can throw some apple and banana slices in with the pumpkin and peanut butter).
It was sheer small-town joy at the Morton Pumpkin Festival -- not entirely what I expected, but it turned out to be a tasty good time.