Amira’s Prolific Pumpkins

Although not certified organic, Olana Farm grows produce on 2.25-acres using strictly organic methods.

What’s growing now

Arugula, avocado, basil (Thai, Italian, lemon), bak choy, beets, carrots, celery, chard (Swiss, rainbow), chives, cilantro, collards, fennel, green onions, ginger, guava, kale (curly, lacinato, red Russian, red curly), kaffir (leaves, fruit), mint, mustard greens (red, green), oregano, pak choi, papaya (green sunrise), pak choi (baby green, baby purple), parsley (Italian, curly), passionfruit, pea shoots, pineapple (white), pumpkin, rosemary, tangelo, thyme, tomatoes (cherry red, yellow pear), turmeric, turnips (white, red), yacón.

Amira Pumpkin 

“This variety was selected from seeds that were saved because they are adapted to Hawaii and resist powdery mildew and being stung by the fruit fly,” says Tom O’Connor. “We liken it to a tender butternut squash, but it has thin skin and sweet, tender flesh. We named it after my wife, Amira.”

Amira pumpkins have a deep gold, creamy interior that’s sweet and full of seeds, which can be planted in home gardens. You don’t need to peel them because the skin is smooth and tender enough to eat.

Pumpkins are a prolific crop and a medium sized one can make up to eight meals. They are considered a winter squash because they are harvested in late summer and early fall, and keep throughout the winter.


Amira pumpkins take up to three months to go from seed to table. On Kauai, they are available from spring through summer and possibly into fall.

What to look for

Select pumpkins that are hard, heavy and free of soft spots. External skin blemishes do not compromise the integrity of the flesh. Stems should be attached, otherwise bacteria gets inside and spoils the flesh.


Store on a counter out of direct sunlight. O’Connor says pumpkins stored this way will keep for a few weeks.


Seeds make an excellent snack food. Scoop out the pulp and seeds and spread the seeds in a single layer on a cookie sheet. Lightly roast at 160 degrees for 15 to 20 minutes. Roasting for a relatively short time at a low temperature minimizes damage to healthy oils. 


Purchasing pumpkins may seem expensive, but they are worth every penny. I used my pumpkin in four meals: the pilaf below, a kale and caramelized onion tart, ravioli (made with wonton wrappers) and a Thai coconut soup.

In the Garden – The Cult of Garlic Cloves

Are you beguiled by pyramid schemes, but loath to lose a fortune? Deanna Stanchfield has an offer for you.

Here is how it works: You send Ms. Stanchfield, 42, and her partner, Scott Jentink, 47, a nominal sum — say, $12. They mail you a half-dozen bulbs of garlic from their Swede Lake Farms and Global Garlic in Watertown, Minn., out past the golf course suburbs west of Minneapolis. They have the bulbs — 40,000 of them — curing in a hayloft, suspended from the rafters like bats in a cave.

If you bury each clove separately in October or November — think of them as seeds — you should be able to harvest 30 to 35 new garlic bulbs in July. Split those bulbs and plant the cloves next fall, and you will have 150 garlic bulbs by July of 2012. The following year will deliver 750 heads, and the summer after that, 3,750.

And the year after that? Now we’re getting into Bernard Madoff-style math. At this point, you can surely spare a few bulbs to start your neighbor’s garlic garden.

Still not sold? Six years ago, Mr. Jentink said, “we started with 14 pounds.” His planting this fall, he said, “will give us in theory, at least, a harvest of about 20,000 pounds.”

“All by hand,” Ms. Stanchfield added.