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It’s Fall at Farmer’s Market

Picture 2     Last Saturday morning, I felt like I was visiting a friend who had changed her décor.  Where ears of corn had filled the beds of pick up trucks, now there were pumpkins.  Bushel baskets that had overflowed with green beans now offer turnip greens and sweet potatoes.  During the past few weeks, Farmer’s Market has taken on a whole new look.

“No, we don’t have fresh spinach,” a seller told another shopper.  “But we’ve got plenty of turnip greens, Swiss chard, fall lettuce, and kale.”  He waved his hand over a table.  All those greens, plus turnips, and a variety of peppers.   I walked passed tables loaded with quart jars of green beans, spices, brightly colored zinnias, apples, pears, fried pies, eggs, fresh baked breads.  “If you like peach cobbler, you’ll love this peach bread,” said a lady wearing a red baker’s apron.

I spotted a pick-up truck loaded with pumpkins and squash.  “Tell me about your squash,” I said.  Twenty minutes later the vendor, Mrs. Fielder, was my friend.  She said, “Cut this spaghetti squash (yellow and small football shape) down the middle, get the seeds out, cook it in the microwave or bake it.  Then instead of those boxed noodles, pull out the middle of your squash, kinda’ in strings or strands, and pour your red sauce over it.  It’s better than any packaged noodle.”

I thought I knew the best way to cook butternut squash, seasoned with butter and brown sugar.  “Don’t you sprinkle them with cinnamon?  Oh, it’s good,” Mrs. Fielder said. “And cut up an apple and bake it with your squash.  Or add a can of mandarin oranges.  A little fruit gives butternuts a whole different flavor.”

“Have you ever eaten a raw butternut or acorn?”  Mrs. Fielder asked.  “Try eating one like you’d eat a apple.  Or make a salad – like you’d make an apple salad.”  I’ve munched on raw yellow summer and zucchini squash, but never a butternut or acorn squash. And I thought a few slices of onion were all I needed to season an acorn. Mrs. Fielder said, “Make a little stuffing – just like for Thanksgiving – and bake a ball of it in the middle of half an acorn.  It’s really good.”  And if I want an orange fall decoration, all I have to do is lay an acorn squash in the sun for a few days.  “Use it for decoration and then eat it.  Winter squash keep a long time in a dry, cool place,” my new friend said.

Picture 1 “Is that a pumpkin or squash?”  I asked, pointing to an orange and white striped vegetable that was shaped somewhat like a drinking gourd.  “A pumpkin – a Kershaw pumpkin,” Mrs. Fielder said.  “And it tastes as good as it looks.  Like a cow pumpkin.  You know, the old timey light-colored real pumpkins?”  She and I agreed that the bright orange pumpkins are pretty, but the delicious pumpkin pies that our mothers made were from cow pumpkins.

I bought so many squash that Husband and I can eat it prepared a different way every night this week.  But we won’t.  Acorn and butternut squash and that Kershaw pumpkin and a few fall colored leaves make a perfect table decoration.  I’ve made a grocery list for my next shopping trip to Farmer’s Market:  more squash, sweet potatoes, apples, pears, turnip greens, and whatever looks good.

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