Farm News  |   January 10, 2024

Pumpkin Quest 2023 – The Results

Among other incredible progress and noteworthy moments in the Market Garden, 2023 saw the team on a major quest to find the perfect pumpkin varieties to grow on the farm…

Three photos: pumpkins growing in the Market Garden; a farmer in yellow waterproofs sorting pumpkins in crates, a long table in the packing shed with many people on either side tasting plates of cooked pumpkin and rating them on sheets on paper

What Was Pumpkin Quest?

Inspired by the work of the Culinary Breeding Network, the Market Garden team decided to grow as many pumpkin varieties as possible in the 2023 season – to see which ones grow well in north Edinburgh, to find the best flavours in a big taste test, and to share the results* to help others choose varieties to grow and eat.

The Market Garden team rated the varieties on how successfully they grew from seed, how they stood up to disease and pests, and the number and weight of pumpkins per plant. We combined these to give each variety a ‘Growers Score’. Then we held a pumpkin tasting party! Around 40 people joined us to rate the cooked pumpkins for looks, taste and texture. This gave each variety a ‘Tasters Score’. The tasters also each picked an overall favourite.

Combined together with some nifty maths, these ratings allowed us to crown the winners of Pumpkin Quest 2023…


Pumpkin Quest: The Results

Overall Winners

Overall Winners Pumpkin Quest 2023: Blue Hubbard, Marina Di Chioggia, Banana Pink Jumbo


Tasters Awards

Photos of three pumpkin varieties , all with green skin, with yellow notes on their 'awards': Blue Ballet 1st place & best steamed, Green Hokkaido 2nd place & best roasted, Marina Di Chioggia 3rd place & most beautiful

Tasters Awards: Blue Ballet, Green Hokkaido, Marina Di Chioggia


Growers Awards

Photos of three pumpkins, two with orange skin and one green. Yellow text adds their award notes: Sucrette 1st place overall, 2nd for food per plant, & 3rd for most pumpkins per plant; Granton Gourd 2nd place overall, 3rd most food per plant & a special beauty award; Rouge Vif Detampes 3rd place

Growers Awards: Sucrette, Granton Gourd, Rouge Vif Detampes

Click here to see all the pumpkins in the trial with their scores.


What Happens Now?

The varieties with high scores across the board are top of the list for us to grow again. If they scored high on taste but were tricky to grow, they may get another chance to see if it was just a tough year for them or if they really aren’t suited to our site. If they grew well but didn’t score so high on taste, we might grow them again if we can give out some good tips for preparation and cooking.


Curious To Know More?

*If you want details, we have GOT details. Click here to read Jossie’s extraordinary report on Substack on the pumpkin growing trial – it includes a guide to pumpkin varieties, detailed growing notes, more on how we did the testing and how we chose the winners, plus four separate graphs and a chart!
(You shouldn’t need a Substack account to read it – just click ‘continue reading’ if you get a pop-up login box.)

The Market Garden team would like to say thank you to all the volunteers and taste testers who helped made this possible, and fun. And all of us at Edinburgh Agroecology Co-op tip our hats to Jossie’s data handling skills!

Newsletter Signup

Lauriston Farm Road, Edinburgh EH4 5EX  |  How to get here
Edinburgh Agroecology Co-operative (EAC) Community Interest Company (CIC)
Terms  |  Privacy  |  Cookies
Website by Urwin Studio