Fresh off the Farm - Full Moon Farm's SquashNovember 19, 2014
Rachel Nevitt and David Zuckerman own and operate Full Moon Organic Farm in Hinesburg, Vermont. Both David and Rachel are incredible advocates for Vermont's family farms and work tirelessly to produce healthy organic meat and produce and to support our local food system--David also represents Chittenden County as a state senator, bringing the plight of family farmers to the policy makers in Vermont.
We checked in with David and Rachel on a very important issue--their 2014 squash harvest. Full Moon Farm grows a fantastic variety of squash--acorn, butternut, pie pumpkins, delicata, sweet dumpling, spaghetti, buttercups, kabochas, and carnival with some other varieties occasionally coming and going, but the best part of growing squash, according to Rachel, is the harvest. Here's Rachel on the secret to a successful squash harvest.., "The only thing we enjoy more than eating squash is harvesting it! There is a lot of heavy lifting in large groups with big smiles. First we have folks go through the fields and cut all the ripe squash. Then the fun begins. We drive a tractor down the bed with a big wooden bin on the forks. Pickers work ahead of the tractor picking up squash from the ground and tossing it to catchers who catch the squash and gently place it in the bin. Good communication and coordination is key between the pickers, catchers and tractor drivers or else mayhem ensues...but we never have trouble with that here..."
What is Rachel Nevitt's favorite squash variety?
The sweet and substantial kabocha...
"Most folks love the delicata and the butternuts, but I would give up what little vacation I get for a storage room full of kabochas," Rachel shares, "it's very versatile. Drier than butternut or pumpkin, it can be used in baking pies, breads, muffins and pancakes. But my absolute favorite fall treat is to use it in a side dish if meat is on the menu, or as the main course in a vegetarian meal." Rachel was generous enough to share two of her favorite squash recipes with us--one featuring her beloved kabocha and the other, the classic delicata. You can pick up your Full Moon Farm squash at the Burlington Winter Farmers Market this (and every other) Saturday, November 22--just in time for Thanksgiving! Also check out these two excellent chef tested and approved squash recipes, ready to be featured on your holiday table!
Fall Apple-Stuffed Kabocha
Preheat the oven to 350. Cut the top off a kabocha as if it were a carving pumpkin and scoop out all the seeds. Put the lid back on it. Place it in the oven to cook inside a cake pan with 1/2 inch of water on the bottom of the pan.
On the stove-top, sautee one large onion and 4-6 apples in butter until they soften. Add 1/2 tsp cinnamon, 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg, 1 Tbsp brown sugar and a handful of raisins and/or walnuts. Mix well.
Remove the squash from the oven. Remove the lid and fill the kabocha with the apple filling and replace the lid. (If I have a lot of filling, I leave the lid off and just lay it in the baking pan next to the squash.) Return it to the oven and continue baking until you can pierce the squash easily with a fork (about 1 hour total cooking time.) Remove it from the oven to cool. When serving, slice it like a pie and serve.
Fabulous with Full Moon Farm certified organic pork chops and a light salad!
Delicata and Quinoa Boats
I love the boat-shaped delicata (or try the sweet dumpling squash for an interesting semi-heart shape,) for a gourmet side-dish!
Cut delicata in half lengthwise and scoop out seeds. Turn upside down in a baking dish with 1/2" of water in the dish. Bake at 350 until tender.
In the mean time, on the stovetop, sautee 2 cloves of garlic and 1 cup red quinoa in sesame oil. Toast the quinoa all over until it's crackling and popping in the pan. Stir constantly to keep it from burning. Then add 2 cups hot liquid 1/2 cup at a time until it is absorbed each time. For hot liquid I use chicken broth I've made from our organic chicken. But one can use buillon cubes dissolved in water or just water. If I use water I add salt or tamari for seasoning.
While the quinoa is cooking, I add whatever vegetables I have on hand. I like carrots or colored peppers for their coloring. Carrots should be added early, peppers later so they don't get too squishy. Near the end, just after I add the last 1/2 cup of liquid, I add some broccoli florettes chopped fairly small. If you add them too early, they will be grey. If you wait until the end, they will add a bright green touch to the meal.
Remove delicata from the oven when done. Cool just enough to handle, flip over onto a plate, boat side up and fill generously with the quinoa mixture. If you are serving farmers, serve a boat as a side-dish. People with normal appetites will probably only need 1/2 boat each.