Sustainable Table: Pumpkin Power

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MEDFORD, Ore. — One Southern Oregon farm is harvesting hundreds of pumpkins and not a single one will turn into a jack-o-lantern or seasonal pie.

Think pumpkin bread or pumpkin latte or pumpkin pie is the only pumpkin-y option this time of year? What about pumpkin seed oil or pumpkin seed butter?

While the perfect pumpkin may be a beautiful bright orange, this pumpkin product has a different hue.

“It is green!” remarks customer Sarah Primerano. “It’s a good alternative to peanut butter. You can put it on anything you would normally put peanut butter on and it’s similar tasting, but the texture is a little different.”

Sarah Primerano is the very proud mother of 3-year-old Giavoni and 5-year-old Rocco.

“Rocco is in kindergarten and in his school they don’t allow nuts of any sort,” said Sarah. “So he really likes peanut butter and so I was trying to find an alternative to peanut butter and we were at the farmers market in downtown Medford and I saw the pumpkin seed butter.”

That butter is a top seller for the Seed Oil Company. These are no ordinary pumpkins – the Styria pumpkin was grown in Austria for hundreds of years for its medicinal purposes before the Doyle family planted the seeds on their Williams property.

“Initially, you weren’t even allowed to grow this pumpkin in the Austria, because it’s only for doctors because it was prescribed for prostate, kidney, bladder. It’s also very good for bone density and it’s known to help eyesight because the high magnesium zinc and iron,” said Lisa Doyle with Seed Oil Company.

The seed oil company makes three products from what they now refer to as the Williams naked pumpkin because of its hull-less seeds. It’s a pricey spoonful, the labor intensive work pushes the price up: 8 dollars for the butter, 15 dollars for the oil and powder.

For Sarah, the splurge is worth it as a working mother of two, who is trying to provide good options for her kids.

“It’s not always obtainable for me to be organic or GMO-free, but this is a way to do this and a really healthy alternative to peanut butter,” says Sarah.

The products actually have a very mild pumpkin taste. Lisa from the Seed Oil Company says customers use the oil on salads and pasta, the protein powder in shakes, and the seed butter in cookies.