It’s Pumpkin Time Again!

By Lyn Funnell

Pumpkins are a great Winter food. They’re cheap, filling and versatile. And they keep for months.

We paid our annual visit to Sheepgate Farm in Newick, Sussex, and I spoke to Richard Wood, the owner.

ME How long have you worked at the farm?

RICHARD 10 years. I‘m the 4th generation. It’s been in our family for 104 years. In Dad’s day it was 10 acres of fruit farm.

ME Have you always grown pumpkins?

RICHARD No, just for 10 years. Our main crops were strawberries, raspberries and gooseberries. It used to be a Pick Your Own farm. We still grow strawberries and raspberries. The pumpkins are planted May-July.

ME What’s the best type of pumpkin?

RICHARD The Crown Prince, the grey one, for eating. The big white ones are the best for Halloween. They’re called Ghost Pumpkins.

ME How many varieties are grown?

RICHARD A dozen. 3-4 varieties are orange.

ME How much land have you got now?

RICHARD An acre. My brother’s got sheep on the rest of the land. And he rents land around the village.

ME How many staff have you got?

RICHARD 1 part-time; me! My Sister-in-law works here in the summer, and we have some voluntary staff – the family!

ME How long do pumpkins take to grow?

RICHARD 5 months.

Me Where do you distribute them?

RICHARD Just here, and The Sussex Peasant, who travel around the area, selling local produce from converted horseboxes.

Newick used to full of fruit farms but sadly, there are only a few left now.

We chose our pumpkins and said Goodbye for another year. There’s an Honesty Box there to post your money in. The pumpkins will keep until at least February.

I use some of them in a delicious smoothy.

I large chunk of roasted pumpkin

2 bananas

A generous scoop of runny honey

A couple of tablespoons of All-bran

Milk to fill up

Blitz the lot in a juicer until smooth.

Make plenty in one go as it will keep in the fridge.

Sheepgate Farm

Cornwells Bank


East Sussex


07400 978068


  • Lyn Funnell

    Lyn is the co-owner of Unknown Kent and Sussex. She lives in Sussex. Lyn has been writing for most of her life, both Fiction & Non-Fiction. She loves cookery & creating original recipes. She's won a lot of prizes, including Good Housekeeping Millenium Menu & on BBC The One Show as a runner-up, making her Britain's Spag Bol Queen! She has had nine books published so far. History, Travel & Restaurant Reviews are her main interests.

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