Fresh Start Farms’ CSA is in full swing with 30+ locations in Cumberland and Androscoggin Counties where members are picking up locally grown, chemical free food. As the CSA marketing coordinator, I provide you with updates from our largest farm site in Lisbon. I’ll be sending along cooking tips and recipe suggestions to help get you out of your cooking rut and inspire flavorful home cooking all season long. I’ll also keep you posted about organizational events–opportunities for our supporters like you to gather and share meals straight from our gardens and fields. Email me with questions at [email protected].
Good Food Bus – mobile produce market in Lewiston/Auburn
For L/A area members, check out our recently launched Good Food Bus. This is a mobile produce market with stops at several locations around L/A and also for folks at BIW and Central Maine Medical Center. Click here for a schedule of locations and times or check out the facebook page here.
Cultivating Community’s Harvest Celebration at Boyd Street – Portland
Please come to our Harvest Celebration at the Boyd Street Urban Farm in East Bayside. This event takes place Tuesday October 20 at 4-6p. Come celebrate the harvest in East Bayside’s beautiful garden and enjoy free food, garden demonstrations, prizes, t-shirts and more.
Member share—caramelized winter squash
This week’s member share is from a member at the Animal Refuge League. She told me she caramelizes her squash (both delicata and butternut) by peeling and placing on a metal pan (she emphasized metal and I agree that my metal pan is better for roasting in my experience) with coconut oil. She bakes the squash but every five minutes, pulls the pan out and flips the squash over. She does this until the flesh is cooked and swears this is the best way to roast squash. I can’t wait to try!
The world of winter squashes (or at least those we grow)
Folks have been finding a rainbow of winter squashes in their CSA bags. Here is a description of each with a photo so you can ID the various types you receive as well as fun facts and my cooking tips for each. Be sure to share your own cooking successes with us by emailing them to me at [email protected].
butternut is a celebrated favorite and what many associate with winter squash. I love butternut because it’s easy to peel and thus, is easy to add to many many recipes. I generally use it in soups and stews as well as in pies and breads.
Butternut will also store fairly well through the winter if you have the right storage spot for it. If you are storing squashes, I recommend storing different varieties separately in a cool (ideally around 50 degrees), dry, and dark location. Check on your squash every two weeks or so and pull out any that have soft spots, mold, etc. Once one squash in your pile starts to decay, it will increase the decay of those it’s stored with.
this is another traditional New England favorite. Its flesh is dry (as opposed to watery like some squashes). I like baking this and adding to curries because it soaks up flavor and doesn’t fall apart too much.
Acorn squash are just so darn beautiful and also store well throughout the winter (see butternut above for storage suggestions). I love the shape of this cucurbit variety–the ridges, and the contrast of dark green with the deep orange flesh when cut open.
I prepare acorn by simply slicing in half, scooping out the seeds, and drizzling with coconut or olive oil, and finally adding a dash of salt and half teaspoon or so of maple syrup into the cup. Bake until soft. I also like to make a more savory dish by baking the acorn until soft and then stuffing with wild rice, lightly sautéed brussel sprouts, and blue cheese crumbles.
Note: some members also received orange acorn squash. Cook these as you would acorn. They are just orange on the outside instead of dark green.
Once you’ve had delicate squash, it will likely top your list of squash favorites for many reasons (it does for me at least :). I love delicata because it’s extremely sweet, and also is easy to prepare because the skin is edible when baked (there is no need to peel it!).
I simply cut the oblong squash in half, scoop out the seeds (and save them for roasting), slice into half-moons, and place on an olive-oiled pan, and bake for 40 minutes or so in the oven. I then use these slices to top my salads (with the roasted seeds and a little bit of goat cheese) for the next few days. Balsamic dressing adds a lovely tang too.
In my experience, delicata doesn’t tend to store as long as some of the other winter squash varieties so keep an eye on it if you have it tucked away. Last year I forgot to check on my delicatas regularly and some got mushy and moldy. As you can imagine knowing my love of veggies, I was quite sad.
this is another squash that will store well and has edible skin. According to Fedco seed catalog, which often gives great descriptions of the produce their seeds produce. “New York Times food writer Regina Schrambling calls them the “avocados of squash” for their inherent buttery richness and sweet-tangy taste.” What more of an endorsement do I need?
this squash is a cross between acorn and sweet dumpling. Fedco calls its flavors “nutty” and “sweet”. I also love carnival squash because they are just so darn beautiful! I put mine on the kitchen table to let my carnivals show off the bounty and beauty of Maine-grown produce!
though these look like mini-Halloween pumpkins, they are great for making pumpkin pie as the name suggests. Use a pie pumpkin (also called sugar pumpkin) to replace canned pumpkin this year and wow your friends with fresh pumpkin flavor. While I’m no expert baker, I found using fresh pumpkin for my pies makes a huge difference with only slightly more work. As a note, most squashes can be used for making pumpkin pie. I often use butternut or buttercup for pies if my sugar pumpkins have gone mushy (pie pumpkins don’t generally store too well).
Don’t forget to roast and eat the seeds of all squash. Mmmmmm :).
After I took the time to write this post, I found that Epicurious had an almost identical idea (I really should have checked on that), which includes links to recipes for each variety of squash. It’s a great resource so check it out here. Their winter squash guide also includes baby blue hubbard and red kuri squashes, a few of which were grown on the farm this year and may have ended up in a few CSA shares.
Baby blue hubbard