"History's too hasty in giving cold shoulder to winter squash"

(Chicago Tribune, Nov. 13, 1986)
As the Tribune pointed out thirty-four years ago, there's generally no such thing as an acorn squash festival, or a butternut parade - watermelons and sweet corn tend to get all our attention, festival-wise. But the venerable squashes deserve their due. 
Squash has been consumed on this continent and in Central and South America for eight thousand years. It was first cultivated in Central and South America, where it was eaten for the seeds - the flesh was considered too hard and thrown away. Eventually, South American farmers selected for thicker skins anyway, and those seeds travelled north, where they became - it is thought - one of if not the first plant cultivated by indigenous peoples here. Although at first rejected by English colonists - they threw away a chowder of seafood and squash given to them by the Narragansetts, dubbing it "the meanest of God's blessings" - they soon came to prize squash for its storage capabilities.

But how to liven up what can easily become a staid element in your meal? When roasting squash, try adding coriander, cumin, fennel seeds, curry, chile powder, and smoked paprika. Use coconut oil or browned butter instead of olive oil; make a yoghurt- or buttermilk-based creamy dressing. Mix squash with your favourite seeds, nuts, and whole grains. Add heat: use spicy vinaigrettes, or roast along with hot peppers.

Or try this: roast two acorn squashes whole in the oven at 300ºF. Prick the squash all over with a paring knife and put on a foil- or parchment-covered baking sheet. Roast for a few hours, or until very tender (your paring knife should slide easily into the skin). Tear or cut the squash in half and let it sit until it's cool enough to pick up. 

While the squash is roasting, grate about 3-4 oz of parmesan and zest about 1 tb of lemon rind. Mash this together with about 1/2 cup of soft butter.

Now prepare the vinaigrette: whisk together about 3 tb of fresh lemon juice, 3 tb of rice vinegar, 3 tb of olive oil, 1 tb of honey. Prepare some farro so you end up with about 1 1/2 cups, chop a couple of scallions (or some red onion), and gather about 1/3 cup of roasted pumpkin seeds and 3 tb of golden raisins. Add these to the vinaigrette.

Once the squash is cool, remove the seeds and discard; scoop the flesh out but try and leave the skin intact so you can tear it into 3"x3" or 4"x4" pieces.  

Mash the parmesan and butter mixture into the squash, and spoon it onto the reserved pieces of skin. Broil for a couple of minutes until the squash browns. Arrange the squash on a platter and spoon the vinaigrette / whole grain mixture on top.
In your boxes this week, you'll find arugula, zucchini, shishito peppers, carrots, acorn squash, cherry tomaotes, and yellow beans.


It was a grey and drizzly week on the farm, but we're happy for the rain. Our farmer friend, Jim, who rents our back field, came back for a second cutting of hay this year - that hasn't happened in the last few years. It not only means more hay for Jim, but that he's confident the good growing weather will continue into September and October, when the hay field will recover and throw up some growth before (gulp) the snow comes in. 

With just over a month left in the growing season, there is still much to do. The sweet corn needs some further protection from the critters (Emely, John's mother, thought that stringing little bells on the stalks might deter them), the big silage tarps need to be moved to the places where we'll grow our first greens next year, more plastic mulch needs to be dug up and disposed of. (We've happily and wisely abandoned its use entirely; though a staple of organic farming, we've switched to long, wide swathes of landscape fabric that does a better job of suppressing weeds and is reusable, year after year.)

 We would be remiss if we didn't mention the biggest news on the farm this week, though it has nothing to do with vegetables - the first day of kindergarten! Lulu might be prepped and ready, but her parents aren't!
Bramble Lea Farm is owned and run by John & Melissa Ondrovcik
Athens, Ontario
6138030832    This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 

Besides selling from their farm they are also selling online at beechwoodmarket.ca