This morning I went to the last summer farmers market to stock up on winter goodies. There was a feeling of finality – fewer booths and fewer vegetables on offer. However, this is always the best time to pick up winter squash and pumpkins at a discount, and I had to make two trips back to the car.
My haul included a loaf of red onion-dill bread, a pound of crimini mushrooms, two white onions and two red ones, a big bunch of carrots, half a dozen crisp Granny Smith apples, two spaghetti squash, two butternut squash, a couple heads of garlic, a pound of fingerling potatoes, and seven assorted pumpkin-type squash.
These last were not of the Jack-o-lantern variety – those are a particular kind of squash that grow large and are great for carving, but not so great for eating. So don’t even try cooking those homogenous big guys found in the bins outside your local megamart – the resulting puree will be dull and watery at best.
For eating you want sugar pumpkins, also known as pie pumpkins. They are smaller and sweeter, with a denser flesh. I bought three of those and three reddish “Rough vif D’Entampes”, also known as Cinderella pumpkin (because the resemble the pumpkin her fairy godmother turned into coach). This is also the variety that the pilgrims are said to have served at the first Thanksgiving, and they’re suitable for pies or any other winter squash recipe. Often you see them much larger than the ones above, which are only about ten inches in diameter. Of course I only paid 50 cents apiece.
Lastly, I got a small Kakai pumpkin. Isn’t it pretty, all orange with those dark green ribs? The man who grew these varieties (and more) told me the flesh of the Kakai isn’t great, and they are hard to peel since the shell is so hard. But get this: the seeds are hull-less! So once we’re done appreciating its beauty, I’ll crack it open, take out the seeds, soak them in brine and then roast them to salty, crunchy goodness.
Tonight we’ll have butternut squash soup made with leeks from the garden, bacon from our pork side, cream that was delivered to the front door, and homemade chicken stock. With that I’ll serve slabs of red onion-dill bread slathered with homemade butter and a simple salad of lettuce from the aquaponics place down the road along with arugula, tomatoes and carrots from the garden.
Yep, still managing to eat a few fresh things from the garden, despite snow yesterday. But soon that will be a thing of the past.
However, today was only the final summer farmers market, and in two weeks the winter market begins with many of the same vendors and a slew of new ones. Last year’s winter markets were so packed and so popular that they’ve added several more to the calendar. Yet another way to feel lucky and rich.
If you’re interested in more information about all those funky looking squash on offer this time of year, check out this site.
Now back to writing for me. The deadline for the third in the Magical Bakery Mysteries I write as Bailey Cates approaches, and beyond that another deadline for a book I’ll tell you more about in another post.
Hint: It’s not for either of my existing series…