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Geography in the News: Pumpkins

Geography in the News: Pumpkins | Matt's Geography Portfolio | Scoop.it

"Halloween and Thanksgiving are just around the corner and pumpkins are already showing up at roadside stands. Jack o’lanterns, decorative displays and pumpkin pies are the main destinies of most pumpkins in the United States. Elsewhere in the world, however, the pumpkin is nearly exclusively considered a food crop or animal feed."


Via Seth Dixon
Matthew DiLuglio's insight:

I have been a long-time fan of pumpkin coffee, and tomorrow I will probably have some with my cousins and family... Some areas of Asia allow consumption of dogs, other areas of the US allow consumption of roadkill, and that is different from what most people in RI are used to... So I guess, it's not really my business what other people and countries do with their pumpkin crops, as long as it doesn't negatively affect other people.  My neighbor has won some prizes, I think 3rd place in RI for largest pumpkin contests, which is pretty cool, because for several months, you can see their pumpkin garden from my backyard.  Those pumpkins are enormous, and made me wonder if there was anything being done to make the modified pumpkins more usable in food.  I know GMOs are a touchy issue, but to feed the starving people around the world, you have to wonder if one pumpkin at 2000 lbs could feed a village of people.  Lots of people that don't like GMOs probably do unhealthy things in other ways, so their huge activism movements really boggle me.  Labeling GMOs is one thing, but stopping genetic modifications seems as controversial as starting them, especially when some people can benefit from them.  Whatever, I guess pumpkins are cool for whatever people want to do with them, including smashing them... this week on RIC's campus I saw a smashed pumpkin.  The only thing that really popped into my head was not "what a waste," or "oh, those delinquents," but rather "that seems fun."  I did assume though, that no one was hurt by the smashing of the pumpkin...

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Courtney Burns's curator insight, November 21, 2013 9:02 AM

Every year it is expected around halloween that my family and friends will carve pumpkins. Then around chrstmas time it is expected that we will get our christmas tree to decorate. This is something lots of people do around this time. However what I never really linked together was that I was thinking about the geography of things by doing this. I know it is part of our culture and most people do it because it was a tradition. However what I never really thought about was where these pumpkins or christmas trees actually came from. There is a process that farmers have to go through to produce pumkins and pine trees, a process we probably don't even think about because we are so used to having these things around the holidays. When we think of pumpkins we thing of Jack-o-laters and pumkin pies, but to some people pumpkins are considered a crop and food source. We may not see it that way because our culture uses them around Halloween and for processed canned pumpkin for cooking. However not all cultures are like that, which is interesting to think about. Something that is considered seasonal in our culture might be an everyday crop for another culture. It is interesting to see how different places in the wolrd use such things as pumpkin so much different that we do in our culture.

Jessica Rieman's curator insight, March 19, 2014 5:14 PM

Although you wouldn't think it there are many different countries and specific regions that demonstrate the perfect cropping land and fertilization process to grow pumpkins. Out of the US power house pumpkin growing Illinois is named number 1. Along side California, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvainnia, Mississippi. But lets travel abroad to Africa, now me personally I wouldnt think that there are alot of pumpkin patches in Africa but there are many different places in Africa that pumpkins are grown. SOme of these places are Egypt with (690,000) and then there is South Africa with (378,776). I found these numbers quite interesting because one wouldn't think that there are pumpkin patches in Africa.

Pamela Shields's curator insight, August 29, 2014 10:10 AM

@Danyl †  so inspirational!

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Maple Syrup Time

Maple Syrup Time | Matt's Geography Portfolio | Scoop.it

Via Seth Dixon
Matthew DiLuglio's insight:

I actually made maple syrup about a year ago, a couple of roads away from my house.  I know a family that makes it every year, and I was invited to come join them harvesting the syrup.  I had done it there many years ago, but I had a blast.  The father of a guy I went to school with was there boiling the sap, and we had a lot of interesting discussions about the process, including the importance of the climate.  Apparently, if I remember correctly, it is vital to have the freezing temperatures, followed by warm days- which is also mentioned in the article.  He said that gets the "blood" of the tree pumping, and greatly increases the syrup production.  I got to taste the sap as it was being boiled down to concentrated levels, and it was amazing.  I think that using natural resources like that is really cool.  I had a great time, and know that it takes a LOT of sap to make very LITTLE syrup, but it can be totally worth it. I enjoyed gardening when my family had a garden, and I think that that sort of natural harvest and refinement for consumption can be immensely entertaining, as well as rewarding.  I know this family usually makes enough for themselves, and that they give a little away, and end up having enough to get through the year.  It is a really enjoyable activity, and I reccommend it to anyone that doesn't mind getting cold outside or covered in tree sap.

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Seth Dixon's curator insight, April 7, 2013 10:45 PM

March and April are key months for harvesting sap from trees, making this sugar time in New England.  New England's climate and biogeography make this the right time because the because the combination of freezing nights and warm spring days gets the sap in the native species of maple trees to flow.  The sap get boiled down to syrup, but did you know that it takes roughly 40 gallons of sap that to get 1 gallon of pure maple syrup?  

Louis Culotta's comment, April 8, 2013 11:45 AM
this is cool. A friend of mine bought all the equipment and is making it in the woods in his backyard up in Cumberland.
Mary Burke's comment, April 12, 2013 3:53 PM
When I get pancakes at a restaurant I always ask for real maple syrup. They charge more but its worth it. I venture to say that the Canadian maple syrup subsidies might have something to do with less syrup production around here and also might be why syrup so expensive.