Smash a pumpkin

Smash a pumpkin at Miles Smith Farm and feed a cow. Bovines love to eat pumpkins but need them smashed first.

Goblins and ghosts are getting ready to haunt and scare mere mortals. Soon little people dressed as werewolves, dinosaurs, or pirates will wander the streets, exclaiming, "Trick or treat!" Now it's the cheery cry of a child about to get candy. But it originated as an ultimatum: "Trick or treat?" It was code for, "That's a nice jack-o'-lantern you've got there. Be a shame if something were to happen to it."

Pumpkin-smashing, while not much of a "trick," certainly came under the heading of seasonal mischief — kind of "vandalism lite," but generally seen by parents as a step down the slippery slope leading toward a life of crime.

But what if pumpkin-smashing were done for a good cause? What if this destructive act were constructive? What if smashing a pumpkin was food prep for a hungry cow? Well, it is. To the cows of Miles Smith Farm, pumpkins are more delicious than Reese's Peanut Butter Cups. At this time of year, they will come running when they hear a car drive up that might contain pumpkins.

Don't have a left-over pumpkin? Come to the farm anyway, and we'll sell you one for your smashing pleasure. I might even join you. (Sometimes, I just want to smash something!)

The practical aspect of smashing has to do with cow physiology. They have big mouths but no top teeth; they only have bottom front teeth. Their mouths are designed for grabbing grass, but they cannot chomp into a solid pumpkin. They need help getting started. Once the shell is broken, it's like an edible pinata — a delicious vessel full of even-tastier seeds and pulp.

So bring your non-chemically-treated, ready-to-smash pumpkins and gourds to the farm. Visiting hours at Miles Smith Farm are Wednesdays through Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. The cows are waiting.

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Author Carole Soule is co-owner of Miles Smith Farm in Loudon, N.H., where she raises and sells beef, pork, lamb, eggs, and other local products.

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