heirloom

Raising a racket over this season’s squash!

The fall harvest is here, and we’ve got a few tricks and treats up our sleeves. This season’s bounty of squash may feel like a ‘been-there-done-that’ kind of thing, but just wait until you try our newest petite treat – the Honeynut Squash!

Honeynut is a fairly new variety of squash that’s been around just under a decade having been bred specifically for a sweeter more versatile taste than its cousin the Butternut, not to mention its loads easier to manage in the kitchen than a more traditional squash! So who do we have to thank for this small miracle? Chef Dan Barber, of Blue Hill and Blue Hill at Stone Barns fame, approached a group of breeders from Cornell University with the challenge to make a squash that tasted better and didn’t require a machete in the kitchen, and so the journey to make this little delight a reality got put into motion.

Honeynuts are popping up in a lot of local grocers’ and farmers’ markets where sellers boast its smooth texture and sweet yet nutty flavor, but it’s not just the taste that’s getting people’s attention. The little squash doesn’t have to be peeled, which is a huge time saver. They also have 3x the amount of beta-carotene as well as being a great source of vitamin A, making them easy on the eyes.

Afraid of being left out because you don’t have a raging sweet tooth? Fear not ! We’ve got one more trick up our sleeve. Introducing the Kabocha squash, sometimes referred to as a Japanese pumpkin. This winter squash is still sweeter than a Butternut but less so than a Honeynut, lauded for its velvety texture and high in both fiber and beta-carotene, use this winter veggie anywhere you would a pumpkin or traditional squash, that means seeds too!

Much like the Kabocha, Red Kuri squash is a hearty winter squash that you might need a heavy duty knife to carve up. Unlike its relatives, however, this particular squash has an exceptional nutty flavor making it perfect for soups and risotto. The Red Kuri can also be used as a decor as it plays well with gourds and pumpkins!
Of course we would be remiss not to mention the famed thin-skinned Delicata squash, not only is it easy to cut and roast, but the creamy flesh of this squash is ideal for roasting, no peeling necessary. Stuffing the delicata is also a popular way to serve up this variety, however between our three colorful varieties of Acorn squash picking the right veggie for stuffing can be quite a challenge. Try them all, and let us know what you think!

Our squash all come from Lancaster Farm Fresh Cooperative a non-profit all organic farmer’s cooperative of over 100 family farmers all working out of Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, to ensure your produce is humanely raised and fresh as can be!

Angela GelsoRaising a racket over this season’s squash!
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More Than A-peeling: Locally Harvested Apples

A walk through our produce section makes two things clear: fall is here, and so are apples! In addition to classics like Gala and McIntosh, we have many varieties you might not see in a typical grocery store. Our Produce Department works directly with ecologically-minded local farms like Champlain Orchards and Scott Farms in Vermont, and Lancaster Farm Fresh Cooperative in Pennsylvania. These farms grow a variety of apple species that support the local ecology by promoting biodiversity. While we recommend trying them all out, we thought we’d provide a little context to inform your choices in cooking and snacking.

Applications for Apples

If you’re looking for the perfect baking apples, we have a number of great options. Yellow with a pink blush, Honeycrisp apples live up to their title in both texture and sweetness. They work well baked into pies, crumbles, and other desserts. Their crisp texture also makes them ideal raw in salads and coleslaw.

For a great raw apple snack, the gala apple really shines. One of the sweetest apples, Galas pack some of the best nutritional value, containing vitamins A, C, and B in and pectin. Eat them raw or add them diced up to salads, salsas, and chutneys. Similar to Galas, we also carry the Sansa apple. Sansas are a Japanese species that are complexly sweet and mildly tart. They contain important nutrients like potassium and dietary fiber, and are a perfect snacking apple eaten fresh and raw.

Juicy and lightly tart, Paula Reds are a dusty red apple with gold spots. They break down quickly and easily, and are ideal for applesauce and apple butter. Similarly, McIntosh apples have a delicate flesh and spicy flavor that makes them ideal for cider and applesauce.

Mike FunkMore Than A-peeling: Locally Harvested Apples
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Supporting Local Farms… from Afar!

With Earth Day around the corner, we have been taking stock of our environmental impact. The most basic way to make sure our carbon footprint stays low is to support local farms businesses whenever possible. But in order to provide pantry staples year round, we sometimes need to go outside of that 250 mile radius. Let’s look at two staples, rice and beans, and consider how companies we source from can keep us committed to supporting small and sustainable farms!

 

We carry many varieties of Rancho Gordo beans. While they travel from California to get to us, the company’s commitment to growing heirloom beans and working with local growers is without comparison.

Heirloom varieties are important for preserving genetic diversity and they also remind us that our food doesn’t have to look uniform! The Rancho Gordo-Xoxoc Project creates a market for small farms in Mexico to grow heirloom beans indigenous to their areas. These beans also taste amazing! You’ll find a creaminess and earthiness in each bag that is impossible to replicate out of a can.

 

Lotus Foods brings us rice from afar in order to support small and family farms in areas of the world where rice as a commodity crop leads to overproduction and damages local environments and economies.

By providing market incentives for small sustainable farms in these regions, Lotus Foods creates a system that encourages environmentally friendly growing practices. The heirloom varieties of rice that we carry come from Indonesia and China. Volcano Rice has a dark color that reflects the high concentration of minerals such as magnesium and zinc, found in the volcanic soils where it grows. Forbidden Rice comes from a farm that uses a System of Rice Intensification that reduces water use while boosting production.

 

So try out an heirloom bean or two, marvel at their colorful complexity, enjoy a bowl of Volcanic Rice and stay tuned for more info on our sustainable buying practices. It’s not always easy being green, but we’re getting there one bite at a time!

 

Read more about Rancho Gordo here

Read more about Lotus Foods here 

Greene GrapeSupporting Local Farms… from Afar!
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