Autumn in Switzerland - Pumpkins
Every day this week, I am going into more detail about my top 5 things to do in autumn in Switzerland. Monday we headed up the mountains to escape the fog, Tuesday we laced up those hiking boots and today we chat about my favourite fall vegetable … pumpkins.
While there is no going back to summer. more and more leaves are changing their colours every single day and the crisp mornings are a reminder that winter is on its way. But there is one thing in particular about autumn that I just love, and I look forward to every year ....... and thats pumpkin season!
Before moving to Switzerland, I had no idea there was such thing as a pumpkin season. Uneducated me just assumed pumpkins were something that I could just pop to the store and grab at any time of the year. But when I moved to Switzerland, and learned to eat more with the seasons, I would miss my favourite vegetable the 6 months they weren’t available. So you can imagine my excitement each year when the pumpkins starting arriving in the stores! I was even more excited to stumble upon a pumpkin farm right here in Switzerland.
Everything began with the pumpkin ….
In the sleepy village of Seegräben, nestled in the hills of Zurich Oberland, you will find Jucker Farm. In 1997, brothers Jucker decided to create a pumpkin sculpture display on their farm, which became so popular that 20 years later Jucker farm has grown into a very successful agrotourism company. Not only do they still prepare a pumpkin sculpture display every Autumn (1. September till beginning of November), they have expanded to include a restaurant, seminar rooms and also continue to run their farms, producing a vast array of produce which you can purchase on site.
The theme for this years pumpkin sculptures is the Forest. You will find a Owl among other figures spotted around the farm. We really enjoyed last years Roman display and the great Julius Cesear sculpture among others.
Entry is free into Jucker Farm, however if you would like to experience the Apple orchard Maze (made from 1000s of apple trees) as well as a barefoot path, this costs 5chf per person. You can relax in the hammocks or let the kids meet the goats or jump around on the hay bails. There is a self serve restaurant, as well as the farm shop to stock up on, well of course pumpkins, but also other produce from Jucker Farm and nearby farms.
Come and admire the pumpkin sculptures as well as the many different sorts of pumpkins. Pick up your pumpkins for soups or even to carve. There is a carving table available as well if you want to avoid the mess at home. Don’t forget to sit back in the autumn sun and enjoy the views of Pfäffikersee
Stock up on pumpkins! Pumpkins have a long shelf life, especially if stored in a dry place at around 10-20 degrees C. We purchased some Butternut, Kabocha, Ringer and Orange Knirps pumpkins that we stored in our cellar last year and used over a couple of months. Seegräben too far away? Then you can purchase Jucker Farm Products through the website farmy.ch
Feeding the kids:
Enjoy a coffee and cake or perhaps even a meal at the self service restaurant (reserve a table to avoid disappointment). They serve a great breakfast buffet, we tried the pancakes, rösti with bacon and eggs - and we loved that we could pay per 100g and only buy what we needed. No picnic is allowed. When we were ready to leave we picked up a few things at the farm shop and enjoyed a picnic by the lake on our drive home. The bread was delicious.
What to watch out for:
Jucker Farm can get very very busy, so arriving early (we arrived at 9am) will ensure you can enjoy the farm without too many people around. There is no parking at the farm itself, however there is a small amount of parking in the village of Seegräben, a short walk away from the farm.
This carpark fills up quick, and to be kind to the residents of the small town of Seegräben, there is lots of different parking options around the Pfäffikersee and a nice 20 or some minute stroll to the farm. During peak periods the Farm offers a shuttle bus between the Aaartal Train Station or is a 25 minute stroll away.
So what to do with all those pumpkins you will buy? Well pumpkin soup of course. Jucker Farm has kindly provided their pumpkin soup recipe for us to try out which I have translated into English for you.
Jucker Farm Pumpkin Soup - serves 4 people
- 600g Pumpkin (about 1 Orange Knirps)
- 1 onion
- 1 garlic clove
- 1 carrot
- 1 potato
- 1 liter vegetable stock
- Canola oil
- Salt and pepper
- pumpkin seeds and pumpkin oil
Cut the pumpkin in half and remove the seeds - The orange Knirps pumpkin doesn't have to be peeled as its skin is very thin, at the most just remove any hail damage). Dice the carrot and potato into small cubes. Peel the onion and garlic and finely dice, and sautéed with the canola oil. Add the vegetables and fry quickly with the onion and garlic. pour over stock and water if needed and cook on a medium heat for at least 20 minutes. AT the end of the cooking time add the cream.
Puree the soup and season with salt and pepper. And garnish with pumpkin oil and pumpkin seeds. Serve with some lightly toasted Jucker Farm Hofbrot (Farm bread).