We've been anticipating a frost for a few days now, but so far we've been spared. Yesterday Dan & I decided to bring in any winter squash that seemed ripe enough to be pulled from the vine. While squash will handle a light frost just fine, a hard one will cause them to begin rotting. So as it was a dry and sunny (but chilly!) day, we drove the faithful farm truck out to be loaded up with garden goodness.
We grew several varieties of pumpkin and have some biggies, but nothing big enough to turn into a house for Wilbur as we had joked about during planting season. We have some nice looking pumpkins but also quite a few lopsided ones...not sure exactly why, but given the much less than ideal growing season we had here, sometimes you just have to be thankful for what grows, no matter the shape. One of the more unusual winter squash we grew this year is the kabocha...while there are green varieties of this squash, ours turn a nearly scarlet orange when ripe. I've had more than a few questions about our "little pumpkins". While not really a pumpkin at all, they would make fabulous fall decorations, and the larger ones might even be carve-able! However, they are great to eat too, sweet and rich flavored. Our kabocha plants did wonderfully, I even had to follow the vines deep into the planting of ornamental corn to collect all of the beautiful orange globes. We also picked more than a few giant pink banana squash (my new favorite) and the smaller acorn, butternut and buttercups just in case. The bed of the truck looked like a postcard from fall!
Squash is something my family didn't really eat when I was growing up, so I've been looking for good recipes that I can use all winter long. I've been saving my favorites and printing them out for you to pick up when you stop by the stand on Saturdays...a recipe of the week, if you will. I love to try cooking new things, so I intend to keep it up next year as well. If you don't live close enough to stop by, I also post them online on the farm's website -www.pleasantvalleyfarm.weebly.com. Also for all the coupon clippers out there, I posted a coupon for a discount on delicious winter squash there as well! It's already down to 49 degrees and the clouds are clearing off as the sun goes down, so I think we're finally in for a frost for sure. So it's time to go cover the last of the pepper plants to try and save them just a bit longer, then a good night to enjoy the heat of the woodstove!