Tips from the Pros: Farmer Ron Binaghi on Pumpkins & Where You Can Shove Them


Ron Binaghi, Jr. of Stokes Farm in Tappan, N.J. has a love-hate relationship with the bright orange gourds associated with this time of year.

“Nobody makes any money from [growing pumpkins], but you grow them because you have to,” says the farmer. “They take up a lot of space. They’re a pain in the ass.”

Binaghi is one of the original 12 members of the city’s Greenmarket program, which is hosting its annual Taste of Greenmarket event this Wednesday. He was 16 back in 1976 when he and his father joined the program.

Binaghi’s disdain for pumpkins is reserved for the carving kind. He’s far less irked by, for example, pie pumpkins (also known as cheese pumpkins or milk pumpkins, depending on where you’re from). He grows these, too, which get their name from the fact that they’re the ones used for pumpkin pie, and can be identified by their flat, wheel shape and tan color.

So, what to do with your jack-o-lantern once the candy has been distributed and costumes packed away until next year? He recalls, somewhat fondly, how his daughter used to dry out the seeds, then salt them for snacking.

“I don’t have time to do it myself. But she thought she was saving the world with those seeds.”

For perfect pumpkin seeds, rinse them thoroughly and, in a mixing bowl, toss the seeds with a drizzle of olive oil. Spread the seeds on a cookie sheet, and bake for 10-15 minutes or until lightly browned. While still hot, place the seeds in a paper bag with a few large pinches of salt. Shake the bag, and start snacking.