Author Archive | Nathan Allen

What’s In Season? RAFFL: Rutland Area Farm & Food Link

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This time of poignant transition, when the days grow shorter and cooler, rewards those who source their produce with care. Vermont farmers offer their greatest selection and nature presents a pleasant set of contradictions as the growing season wanes. Though they will last the winter, thickskinned, hardy commodities like squash and apples are at their peak. Ephemeral delicacies like berries and tomatoes are quickly devoured as their day in the sun ends.

The Locally Grown Guide, published by the Rutland Area Farm & Food Link (RAFFL), has connected farmers to consumers for eight years. Listing markets, farms, retail, restaurants and more, it is an indispensable tool for navigating a region flush with diversity. RAFFL was created in response to a public desire to improve the availability and sustainability of local food in Rutland County. To benefit farmers, the organization hosts skill-building workshops and provides land-leasing support. By educating consumers about food systems and facilitating community-supported agriculture (CSA) harvest subscription programs, RAFFL works with both sides of the supply and demand equation.

“Agriculture symbolizes Vermont values like independence, ingenuity and resiliency,” says Elizabeth Theriault of RAFFL. “We strive to provide a voice for an industry that can remain hidden and we try to highlight the source of pride that is community-supported agriculture.”

Several RAFFL programs kindle the culinary spirit in the community by promoting what is in season, delicious and nutritious. Everyday Chef provides recipes, fact sheets and technical information that empower home cooks to utilize the bounty of late summer and fall. Farm tours are a fun way to celebrate local foods and get a glimpse behind the scenes at a working farm.

To discover more opportunities to savor the fruits (and vegetables) of the late summer harvest visit RutlandFarmAndFood.org.

RECIPE

Stuffed Acorn Squash

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Stuffed Acorn Squash

whatsInSeasonRaffl

This dish is a representation of the complementary flavors of autumn.

  • 2 small acorn squash, halved and seeds removed
  • 1 shallot or very small onion, medium dice
  • 1 medium apple, medium dice
  • 2 small parsnips, peeled, medium dice
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup
  • 2 tablespoons (about 3 leaves) fresh sage, rough chopped
  • ½ cup spinach leaves, rough chopped
  • 1 cup cooked quinoa
  • ½ cup blue cheese (optional)

Brush the inside of the squash halves with 1 tablespoon of olive oil and 1 tablespoon maple syrup and season with salt and pepper. Place these, cut side down, on a greased baking sheet and roast for 30–40 minutes in a 400° oven. The squash halves are done when a fork passes easily through skin and flesh. Remove them from the oven, turn them over with a spatula and set aside.

While the squash is roasting, prepare the stuffing.

Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a large skillet and cook the shallot and parsnips over medium heat for about 10 minutes or until the parsnips are soft. Add the apple and cook for 5 more minutes.

Once the pieces of apple are tender, remove the mixture from the heat. Mix in the spinach, sage and cooked quinoa and season with salt and pepper. Spoon the stuffing into the cooked squash halves, top with cheese (if desired) and return them to the oven for 10 minutes or until the cheese is melted.

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