The mornings have become brisk and the days are growing shorter; fall is approaching rapidly in the Capay Valley. Technically, it will be officially here in less then a week. There is much to be excited about with its arrival. In the shop we are looking forward to enjoying some cooler temperatures to work in. We’re hoping you’ll be inspired by all of the delicious fall fruits and vegetables that are coming into season at our farms.
One of the best things about autumn is the arrival of winter squash. Winter squash is a Cucurbit, which means it is related to summer squash, as well as cucumbers and melons. It’s typically sweeter, thicker-skinned and more fibrous than summer squash and can be cured for storage throughout the winter. It is also filled with a lot of great nutrients, such as beta-carotene, potassium, lots of vitamins and even some omega 3 fatty acids.
You have already gotten a taste of Acorn squash in your FarmShares and there are many more varieties of winter squash that the valley has to offer. Kabocha and Butternut squash are already coming in as well. All three have orange flesh and are sweet. Butternut squash is considered so sweet in fact, that it is commonly used to make pumpkin pie filling in place of the pumpkin. Winter squash is excellent when roasted, or pureed and turned into soup. It can also be stuffed or grilled. I have never prepared squash in these ways and plan trying both this fall.
Fall fruits are almost here as well. The fruit I am most looking forward to is the pomegranate. For months now I have watched them grow from beautiful, bright red flowers that look so perfectly plastic that for a moment you wonder if they are fake, into a nearly ripened fruit. They should be ready in just a few weeks. If you find picking the seeds out of a pomegranate tedious, peel the pomegranate in a bowl filled with water.
The white pith will rise to the top and can be scooped off. The seeds will sink to the bottom.
Pomegranates are not the only fruit to look forward to. Persimmons and Jujubes will also be coming into season soon. Jujubes are also known as Chinese dates. They have dark brown skins and a flavor and texture that is similar to the apple. Persimmons look similar to tomatoes but have a flavor that some say tastes like a cross between the mango and the apricot.
Greens will also be making their return. They have been on a brief hiatus due to the heat of the valley during summer but cooler temperatures mean they will be back soon and thriving. Our farmers are currently cultivating collards, chard and kale as well as broccoli.
If you haven’t had enough of summer vegetables and fruits yet, don’t worry. There are still plenty of tomatoes, melons and peppers to come. I would encourage you to mix and match summer and fall flavor during this brief time when produce from both seasons is available. That’s the report from the valley this week. Happy eating!