Harvest Fest a Success

Sunday was a beautiful sunny afternoon, sandwiched between two dreary rainy days. With over a hundred votes cast in Blooming Glen Farm’s 5th annual pie bake-off contest, we are judging attendance around 150 to 200. The band was hopping, the popcorn popping and the scarecrows multiplying. What a fun way to wind down this wonderful growing season with amazing weather and amazing people. The festival, and especially the potluck was truly a celebration of the bounty of this land! Thanks to all who volunteered and attended, and those who contributed their creativity, like clay artist Katia McGuirk, playwright Anne Hamilton and her actors and actresses, chef Kristin Moyer and popcorn popper Justin, the goofy and talented band members of Goose Creek Pioneers, and all the pie bakers. It really felt like a very special community celebration.

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Next week we will be posting the winning pie recipes- the top three in the people’s choice, and the top three judges vote. All the pies were superb- as one pie judge said- there must be something in the veggies at Blooming Glen Farm! This year’s first place winners were new to pie baking. The people’s choice first place went to a novice 16 year old baker with her chocolate pecan recipe, and the judges vote went to two young children who baked a classic apple pie with the help of their dad. Pretty cool! More details and recipes to come!

The share this week features two winter squash varieties to chose from, the Long Island Cheese Pumpkin and the Cuban pumpkin.  A classic pumpkin of the 1800s, the Long Island Cheese pumpkin was most likely named for its shape and color, which bring to mind a wheel of fresh cheese. The name may also stem from the colonial practice of making “pumpkin cheese”, a sweet preserve we’d call pumpkin butter. In addition to its beautiful pale orange skin, this pumpkin contains a sweet flesh that’s fantastic for baking.

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10/14/14, share #20

The other winter squash choice was a Cuban Pumpkin, also called Calabaza, or Jamaican pumpkin. It is mottled green, yellow and tan, with a light yellow flesh and a smooth sweet flavor. We grew this pumpkin sucessfully last season, and increased our planting this year. As the name suggests it is typically grown throughout the Caribbean as well as Central and South America. A popular Cuban dish is Arroz con Calabaza, or Pumpkin Rice. Chunks of squash are simmered with rice, garlic, onions, peppers, and fragrant herbs and spices. The squash can also be baked or made into soup, and substituted in recipes for other hard skinned winter squashes like butternut and hubbard.

Also new this week- romanesco cauliflower and kohlrabi. The fall kohlrabi is a variety that is grown to be large, store well, and still maintain its sweetness. We’ve featured this strange alien shaped veggie in various recipes on the blog over the year: Kohlrabi Dal with Aromatic Rice, Kohlrabi Fritters with a Yogurt Sauce, and Kohlrabi and Turnip Slaw (and variations). I love kohlrabi raw as a slaw with apples and fennel. Enjoy the flavors of fall!

tcheadshotPost and photos by Tricia Borneman, Blooming Glen farmer and co-owner. Tricia and her husband Tom have been growing together since 1996 and farming together since 2000. They started Blooming Glen Farm in 2006. Tricia is passionate about food, community, art and nature and the intersection of all four.

 

 

 

 

Posted in On The Farm

Celebrate the Season this Sunday!

Join us this Sunday the 12th at 3pm to celebrate the season, at Blooming Glen Farm’s annual Harvest Fest and Potluck. We have lots of fun planned-and we are still taking entries for our fifth annual pie bake-off! Local bluegrass band Goose Creek Pioneers will be jamming for us again this season, and the popular scarecrow making and veggie pumpkin creations will be happening. Catch a sunset wagon ride led by Corbin or join Katia McGuirk in her community clay project.  4th Street Foodworks is bringing their big kettle and will be popping Blooming Glen’s own popcorn with Chef Kristin mixing up herb and veggie blends to go on top. Rest your feet in the Garlic Seed Social area as we split up bulbs of garlic for planting. Or hop in a potato sac and get jumping with some old-fashioned family fun.

New at the festival this year: The Farm Show, site-specific theatre at Blooming Glen Farm, written and directed by longtime CSA member Anne Hamilton, Founder of Hamilton Dramaturgy. Shows at 3:30pm and 4:30pm, the walking tour lasting approx. 45 min. Space is limited so sign up when you get to the festival. Don’t forget to bring a potluck dish to share, your beverage and place settings and a picnic blanket. With all these food lovers, this is one community meal not to miss! So grab a friend, bring your family and join us this Sunday!

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This week’s CSA share introduces the first fennel and leeks of the fall, and continues with sweet potatoes, broccoli, cabbage and winter squash. It may be because of the favorable conditions, namely cooler weather we had later in the summer, but whatever it is, the fall crops are looking big and beautiful this season. Farmer Tom is feeling partcularly good about the tall leeks!

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We haven’t quite said goodbye to summer yet. The last of the tomatoes are still trickling in. We are slowly dismantling the trellis systems of the summer crops in order to get the fields cleaned up and planted in cover crop for the winter. We had two light frosts at the farm in the past week, which is typical around the full moon of October. Speaking of full moon, I got up early Wednesday morning to try to catch the lunar eclipse of the blood moon. I didn’t see it, but I did catch a beautiful sunrise over the village of Blooming Glen- pictured below.

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We’ve had a few questions about the end of the season- the last distributions of the CSA, week #24, will be Nov. 11 and 13th. This Friday is the last delivery share- week #16. We will be offering special holiday boxed shares for purchase and pick-up the week of Thanksgiving- stay tuned for more details. We will also let you know as soon as we have registration renewal up and live for the 2015 season. Thanks, and see you Sunday!

tcheadshotPost and photos by Tricia Borneman, Blooming Glen farmer and co-owner. Tricia and her husband Tom have been growing together since 1996 and farming together since 2000. They started Blooming Glen Farm in 2006. Tricia is passionate about food, community, art and nature and the intersection of all four.

 

 

 

Posted in On The Farm

Squash Chile Tomato Soup

Autumn is my very favorite time of year. I am not a summer person and prefer shorter days and squash and beets over tomatoes, cucumbers and long hot days. I have been making soup every day for the past 10 years, so soup season means plenty of smooth no-brainer cooking. I love cooking from an effortless place of creativity. We will be featuring soups in the demos for the duration of the CSA season. 

Last week’s demo recipe was a super easy soup and a great way to use up some of those tomatoes you may have hanging around. The recipe calls for tomato juice and chopped fresh tomatoes. Feel free to improvise with whatever tomato/ stock mix you have on hand. You can always add more water if the consistency is too thick. I served mine with black bean salsa and chunks of roasted squash, because I love black and orange together. I also think topping with fresh avocado, queso fresco, tortilla strips and cilantro would be awesome. I use either a immersion blender or Vitamix, the immersion blender being by far my favorite tool in the kitchen (sorry Vitamix). Thanks to everyone who visits me at my table. This has been an amazing experience of which I am so grateful!

Squash Chile Tomato Soup

Kristin1

Ingredients
3 ribs celery, diced
2 onion, diced
2 cups pepper, diced
1 sweet potato, diced
2 cups fresh tomato, diced
1 kabocha squash, roasted and scooped from its skin (could also sub in a butternut or 2 delicata)
12 oz tomato juice
2 cups water
1/8 tsp tumeric
1/8 tsp curry powder
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp chile powder
1 tsp salt
2 dried ancho chiles soaked in 2 cups hot water (remove stems once softened )- add chile water to the soup too.

Kristin2

Sauté veggies in 2 tablespoons oil. Add liquids and seasonings, and simmer over medium heat for 30 minutes, until veggies are soft. Puree. Garnish. Enjoy!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAPost and recipes written by Kristin Moyer, Farm Chef Educator at Blooming Glen Farm and passionate farm-fresh food advocate. Kristin cooks at The Perk in Perkasie, does private catering and serves on the Pennridge Wellness Committee, working to create edible school yards in Pennridge School District. Together with Blooming Glen Farm she hopes to someday start a Community Supported Kitchen at the farm.

Editing by Tricia Borneman, Blooming Glen farmer and co-owner.

 

 

 

Posted in Recipes

Fall into winter roots

Sweet potatoes, beets and winter radishes- the cooler weather and shift in crops signals a time to turn the oven back on and dive into delicious fall soups and roasted root vegetables.

Looking way back to April, spring radishes are one of the first things we plant when the ground dries out. French breakfast and red radishes grow fast -as quick as 3 to 4 weeks from seed to maturity. We harvest them pretty small- about the size of a gumball, and their peppery kick is a welcome kick start to our digestion after a long winter. Winter radishes on the other hand are planted beginning of August and take almost twice as long as spring radishes to mature, growing best into the cooler fall weather. To help them reach their full size potential, we thin the plants. The long daikons can reach a length of 12 inches or more, the round globe types grow happily to 3-5 inches around. Sturdy and beautiful, winter radishes are chock full of hardy nutrition.

This week’s CSA harvest had a choice between daikon radish and green meat radish. These are just two of the four varieties of winter radishes we grow here at Blooming Glen Farm.

9/30/14, share #18

9/30/14, share #18

The daikon radish looks like a giant unicorn horn, and has a mild moist texture. Traditionally used in Japanese cuisine as pickles or in stir-fries, daikon is valued medicinally as a blood and kidney cleanser- it can be combined in a broth with seaweed or in a tea to aid digestion. Two thin slices of pickled daikon is the traditional end to a meal in Japan as it is said to both cleanse the palate and aid in the digestion of the meal. 

Grated on a greens mix, watermelon radishes, or rose heart, with their bright pink interiors will jazz up any salad. Appearing more like a turnip at first glance, peeling back the moss colored shoulders reveals a hidden splendor. They are sweetly mild, with a little bit of spice, and thanks to the fun color, the kid friendliest of the group. Though it can be cooked, I prefer it raw so as not to lose that vibrant rose color. It pairs well with the flavors of fennel and apple.

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The Spanish black radish has a dull black exterior that hides an irridescent pearly white center. Its hot flavor is tempered by a bitter earthiness, almost as if the radish takes on the terroir of our land. In China and Europe it has been used in folk medicine for hundreds of years as a gallbladder tonic and a natural remedy for digestive problems. High in Vitamic C, some people say the pungent spiciness can help ward of colds and flus.

Green meat radish is a type of daikon with a much spicier flavor than its elongated white cousin. Green meats are touted as sweet and mild but I found the ones we are harvesting the most aggressively hot of the bunch.

All these radishes can be enjoyed grated, with the addition of soy sauce and touch of freshly grated ginger, and served with grilled meats or fish, or vegetables, in the style of daikon oroshi, which is simply Japanese for grated radish. Winter radishes are also wonderful roasted with other roots or added to soups.

tcheadshotPost and photos by Tricia Borneman, Blooming Glen farmer and co-owner. Tricia and her husband Tom have been growing together since 1996 and farming together since 2000. They started Blooming Glen Farm in 2006. Tricia is passionate about food, community, art and nature and the intersection of all four.

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in On The Farm

Attack of the Giant Celery

The excitement for harvesting the gigantic celery was high until we realized how difficult it would be to get them out of the ground- a machete would have been better suited than the standard harvest knives. A simple change to our planting plan back in July from 3 rows, 12″ spacing to 2 rows, 18″ spacing resulted in a massive celery harvest this week (the addition of our nourishing compost probably didn’t hurt either). 

Farmer Tom and washer extraordinaire Jackie with massive celery.

Farmer Tom and washer extraordinaire Jackie with enough celery for a village.

The weather and this week’s harvest reflect the passing of the Autumnal Equinox- beets, broccoli, kabocha squash, potatoes and celery. This scarlet color variety of kabocha is called Sunshine. It has a sweet, bright orange flesh that is wonderful baked. We also grow a dark green and a bluish gray kabocha type squash.

9/25/14, share #17

9/25/14, share #17

The rain today was much needed- we’ve had suprisingly few rain days of late. Wednesday was a scramble to get work done before the wet weather came. Priority number one was harvesting my experimental popcorn crop. It was a beautiful scene as the sun was setting- it felt very ancient, and a perfect way to mark the change of seasons. The stalks were bone dry so we husked them in the field- opening each wrapper was like unveiling precious multi-colored jewels.

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Join us at the harvest festival Sunday, October 12th at 3pm- we’ll be popping the corn, and offering various dry herb and vegetable blends as toppings. And not to let any part of the plant go wasted, corn husk doll making will also be a craft on hand.

It was with bittersweet emotions that we cleaned out the greenhouses of all the heirloom tomato plants. It was the close of a long chapter that began in the early spring with grafting, and followed with many months of irrigating, fertilizing, trellising, and harvesting the thousands of pounds of fruit multiple times a week. It is time to turn the page and prepare for the winter ahead. Next up: kale.

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Walking the farm in the evening, it is beautiful to see the fields begin to take a breather after a productive season. The various shades of green cover crops casts a fuzzy shadow over the barren fields. From sudan grass to barley, sweet clover and crimson clover, to oats and peas, we sow a number of different mixes all for different purposes.

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I couldn’t let this blog post go without a happy 1st birthday to Luna, our farm dog. She is a daily reminder to play more, stress less, and by all means, live a little more in the moment.

tcheadshotPost and photos by Tricia Borneman, Blooming Glen farmer and co-owner. Tricia and her husband Tom have been growing together since 1996 and farming together since 2000. They started Blooming Glen Farm in 2006. Tricia is passionate about food, community, art and nature and the intersection of all four.

Posted in Uncategorized

Peppers, peppers, peppers!

Are beautiful and bountiful sweet peppers taking over your fridge?  It won’t be long before they are a distant memory. Use the tips below to put them to good use now, and to preserve some of their summer flavor to enjoy during the upcoming fall and winter months.  Bonus:  Most of these tips and ideas will also work poblanos as well.

Peppers!Rockin’ raw peppers:  There’s nothing like the just-picked taste of farm-fresh peppers (and raw veggies have a special nutritional profile), but eating a side of sliced peppers at every meal can certainly get a little boring.  Try mixing it up by using peppers as the base for a veggie salad; this Summer Pepper Salad also takes advantage of the season’s cucumbers, while this one uses tomatoes.  Slice peppers thinly to add to wraps and sandwiches, or dice them up small for pasta and grain salads.  Gazpacho is a classic summer dish that you can always add extra peppers to.  You can also use raw peppers as the base for other cold soups, dips and dressings.

Peppers as a vessel:  Slice peppers in half, remove ribs and seeds, and then lightly steam or roast.  You can now use the pepper halves as a vessel in which to stuff all kinds of yummy eats.  We’ve posted a few stuffed pepper recipes here on the blog, including Freekah Stuffed Peppers, Poblanos and Mexican-style Quinoa and Green Pepper Dolmas.  I also love using eggs as part of a stuffing; this Baked Eggs in a Bell Pepper and Breakfast Stuffed Peppers use a whole egg cracked into pepper halves, while this Broccoli Quiche in Colorful Peppers uses an egg mixture.  Get creative with your stuffing fixins’ — just about any veggie, meat, grain or bean combination will work, so the possibilities are near endless!

Preserving peppers:  The no-fuss method to preserving peppers is to simply slice them into spears, place them on a cookie sheet in a single layer and place in the freezer until they’re frozen solid, and then transfer them to an airtight, freezer-safe container.  You can then use them in stir-fries, soups, sauces and other dishes.  Roasted peppers also freeze very well, holding their flavor and texture quite nicely; check out this method for roasting and freezing.  Roasted red peppers can be used on their own, or as an ingredient for soup, hummus, sauce, and pasta dishes.  And, of course, you can always make like Peter and pickle those peppers! :)

gfg_head shot mPost and photos by Mikaela D. Martin: Blooming Glen CSA member since 2005, board-certified health counselor, and co-founder of Guidance for Growing, an integrative wellness practice in Souderton. Read more about healthy eating and living on her site, http://guidanceforgrowing.com!

Posted in Recipes Tagged , , ,

Autumn exhale

The crops coming from the field are reflective of the change in seasons. I love autumn vegetables- the colors and flavors, the earthy sweetness, the warm satisfying meals. From a farmer’s perspective fall is the one time of year we can really relax- the successes and failures of the season have been determined, the chores are geared more toward harvest and field clean up, the temperatures are friendly to physical labor. 

Harvesting Arugula

Harvesting arugula

We exhale, and breathe in a feeling of accomplishment. We take in the views from the farm, the colors of the sky and trees and the smell in the air. It’s not the frantic hot pace of summer or the eagerness and anxiety of spring, nor the planning and office work and excel spreadsheets of winter.

9/16/14, share #16

9/16/14, share #16

This week’s harvest has the first winter squash, as well as kennebec potatoes, broccoli, cabbage and collard greens. Delicata squash is one of my favorites. Also known as sweet potato squash, it is delicious baked in halves or rounds. We’ve featured it in a number of recipes in the blog over the years. Here is one: Sweet & Savory: Warm Curried Millet Salad with Delicata Squashand another recipe featuring acorn squash: Herbed Acorn Squash & Quinoa Risotta. Unfortunately, we did not have as much success with our acorn squash, but there is plenty of delicata, butternut and kabocha to look forward to.

A little history on Kennebec potatoes: this light tan, thin-skinned potato, though widely grown is rarely seen in grocery stores. They were introduced in the 40’s by the USDA as a good frying spud and subsequently gobbled up by big companies like Lay’s. The Kennebec was destined to a life as a crispy potato chip, or in the case of California fast food chain In-N-Out Burger, a french fry. With its dry and firm texture, and vivid nutty flavor, Kennebec is a potato that tastes like a potato, whether fried, mashed or baked. 

Speaking of potatoes, we started digging the sweet potatoes this week. After they are dug they will need to cure in a warm place for 2 weeks to encourage optimum sweetness and longevity. Unlike regular potatoes that grow in hills that are super easy to dig with our tractor drawn potato digger, sweet potatoes grow under a mass of vines and take quite a bit more time to unearth.

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Ryan with a 5 pound sweet potato!

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Corbin and crew harvesting sweet potatoes

tcheadshotPost and photos by Tricia Borneman, Blooming Glen farmer and co-owner. Tricia and her husband Tom have been growing together since 1996 and farming together since 2000. They started Blooming Glen Farm in 2006. Tricia is passionate about food, community, art and nature and the intersection of all four.

Posted in On The Farm

Savory Breakfast Muffins

The summer has flown by and here we are again. September welcomes school lunches, hurried morning routines with little time to stop and smell the 3 course breakfast (ha! who has the time?!), and a dinner that often leaves me muttering “I’ll do better tomorrow”. Tis life and thank goodness for the farm and the bounty of veggies still rolling in the door. My Tuesday and Thursdays barely feel like work (don’t tell Trish and Tom)- the energy is vibrant. I remember thinking to myself when I was given the Chef Educator farm job that this was what my family finally needed to be in perfect health and happiness all day, everyday: veggies and fresh air everywhere. Wow! Life was certainly gonna be easier…….screeeeeech.

Here is where reality sets in. Life is rarely easy. Some days I wish I didn’t know that lunchables and pop tarts were a no-no. My job may be different but my kids are the same, and no amount of happy Mr. Sunshine is going to make them willingly eat kale or squash for breakfast. Let me introduce you to a little game I call Hide the Vegetable. I put them everywhere. Chop them, puree them, shred them, you name it. You can sneak them in pancakes, meatballs, salad dressing, even ice cream (avocado yum).

The biggest argument I run into is the white bread vs. the “what kind of bread was that” option. I pick my battles and to be honest now that they are are at school and open the lunchbox in the cafeteria to find the Mommy bread, I am not there to hear them complain. :)

I like to rotate my foods. Everything from grains, meat and veggies, not only to mix things up but because it reduces the chances of acquiring a food intolerance or allergy. I make a chart for my week and map out my meal plan. I am the worst ever shopper so I usually forget my list anyway but at least I have a mental note. This is the only way I find that I feel good about the meals I prepare for my kids.

Prepping the day of CSA pick up is ideal. Honestly though, I use most of the share either as a raw whole food as snacks or lunches with a dip or salad, or lightly steamed, blanched or roasted. I find the most pleasure comes from eating these foods in their natural state. A vinaigrette or fresh herb citrus blend is simple and delicious. The oven roasted tomatoes from Tricia’s tomato blog and her salad in a jar are gems!

Last week we focused our demo on easy breakfast. I opted for a breakfast bread pudding muffin. Feel free to add whatever veggies, meat, cheese or herbs that your kids will eat. These can be individually frozen and reheated in the oven or a skillet.

Savory Breakfast Muffins 

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Ingredients, makes 12 muffins
6 eggs
2 egg whites whipped
1 loaf of bread – cubed – any kind you prefer
2 cups half and half
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup grated parmesan cheese
1 cup cheddar
1 zucchini grated and squeezed dry
1 onion minced
2 -3 ribs kale chopped fine
3 sweet peppers
2 oven roasted plum tomatoes
fresh rosemary to taste

Preheat oven to 350. Sauté onion and peppers and set aside in a bowl to cool. Beat whole eggs and half and half in a separate bowl, add salt and black pepper. Grate the zucchini. Wring out the moisture in a towel and add to the onion mix along with the chopped kale.

Kristin

In a very large bowl toss together the bread with the cheese and herbs to really get them happy together. Fold in the veggies and the whipped egg whites. Put a level scoop into greased muffin tins and bake about 25 minutes or until golden and set in the center.

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OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAPost and recipes written by Kristin Moyer, Farm Chef Educator at Blooming Glen Farm and passionate farm-fresh food advocate. Kristin cooks at The Perk in Perkasie, does private catering and serves on the Pennridge Wellness Committee, working to create edible school yards in Pennridge School District. Together with Blooming Glen Farm she hopes to someday start a Community Supported Kitchen at the farm.

Photos and editing by Tricia Borneman, Blooming Glen farmer and co-owner.

 

 

Posted in Recipes

Harvest Fest Hoe Down Coming Soon!

Save the Date! Blooming Glen Farm’s annual Harvest Fest is coming up in October. This year the event is on a Sunday, October 12, at 3pm, community potluck at 5:30pm (that’s Columbus Day weekend). What’s on tap? Local music and performance, community art, pie bake-off contest (plan your winning entry now!), garlic seed social, farmy crafts, wagon ride and more! We can’t do it without you! Please consider volunteering to help the day of the event. Sign up sheets will be available in the CSA distribution room. Help us celebrate year nine of Blooming Glen Farm, and another rocking harvest season!

9/9/14, share #15

9/9/14, share #15

Speaking of the harvest, we are excited for the first of the fall broccoli, swiss chard and cabbage.  All these crops are loving the cooler weather, and are growing beautifully.

Broccoli Harvest

Broccoli Harvest

Looking ahead, we planted next spring’s strawberry crop. We treat our strawberries as annuals, replanting every fall so as to avoid weed and disease issues. This planting was our largest yet, with over 10,000 strawberry plugs going into the field. Every plug goes in by hand. Since it’s so crucial not to bury the crown below the soil level, we forego using the transplanter, and tuck in each plant with care. In late fall the aisles will get mulched with straw and by early winter we will cover the plants with a heavy cloth row cover to help them survive the harsh cold.

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Even though the strawberry plants are on drip tape, since it was such a hot day when they were planted, we turned the overhead sprinklers on immediately. Then (some of us) promptly ran through the sprinklers.

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tcheadshotPost and photos by Tricia Borneman, Blooming Glen farmer and co-owner. Tricia and her husband Tom have been growing together since 1996 and farming together since 2000. They started Blooming Glen Farm in 2006. Tricia is passionate about food, community, art and nature and the intersection of all four.

Posted in On The Farm

Spaghetti Squash rolls us closer to fall

With Labor Day come and gone, it may be the unofficial end of summer, but the weather is telling us we still have three weeks until the equinox. This late season heat is keeping the tomatoes and sweet peppers pouring in, and our irrigation manager Jared on his toes. We thought we’d give you a break, however, from all the summer squash of the last few months and roll out the spaghetti squash for a little taste of fall.

9/2/2014, share #14

9/2/2014, share #14

The easiest way I’ve found to roast these is whole (because who hasn’t struggled in alarm with a big knife and a twirling squash??).

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. With a small sharp knife, prick the squash all over. Place on a rimmed baking sheet and roast until tender when pierced with a knife, about 1 hour and 20 minutes, flipping halfway through. When cool enough to handle, halve lengthwise and scoop out the seeds. Scrape squash with a fork to remove flesh in long strands.

Saute in some olive oil a bunch of kale, a few torpedo onions and a couple cloves of garlic and toss it with the spaghetti squash “noodles”. Delicious!

Post and photos by Tricia Borneman, Blooming Glen farmer and co-owner.

 

Posted in Weekly Share