Offbeat pumpkins are stealing the spotlight from ordinary varieties
Origin: An heirloom from Chioggia, Italy; also called sea pumpkin but most commonly sold as ‘Marina di Chioggia’.
Design cred: Knobby blue-green skin has frosty highlights.
Can you eat it? You definitely should! It’s delicious cut into wedges, drizzled with olive oil, seasoned with salt and herbs, and roasted until tender.
Origin: An heirloom from France; also sold as ‘Rouge Vif d’Etampes’.
Design cred: It’s easy to see how the softly flattened top and ridged, deep orange skin could have inspired Cinderella’s carriage in Charles Perrault’s classic French fairy tale.
Can you eat it? Yes, the rich orange flesh is tasty in pies.
Origin: A miniature version of an heirloom from France.
Design cred: It’s small (less than 3 pounds) and smooth, and its green skin ripens to orange-tan.
Can you eat it? Sure, in pies. You can also make soup; reserve the top and the hollowed-out shell to use as a pretty serving bowl.
Origin: A tropical calabaza hybrid from Florida.
Design cred: Subtle orange skin is splashed with soft green and tan.
Can you eat it? Yes, the orange flesh is good in soups, purées, and pies, or you can slice and roast it.
Farms: Peltzer Farms, Temecula, CA (951/695-1115); Farmer John’s Pumpkins, Half Moon Bay, CA (650/726-4980)
Nurseries: Roger Reynolds Nursery & Carriage Stop, Menlo Park, CA (650/323-5612), carries grower Terrianne Toso’s pumpkin varieties, which are shown here; Molbak’s Garden + Home, Woodinville, WA (425/483-5000)
Your backyard: Grow your own pumpkins!