Local Foods Newsletter – October

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Welcome to the N.C. Cooperative Extension, Currituck County Center’s Local Food Newsletter! This month’s edition will be focused on acorn squash. Enclosed you will find fun facts on acorn squash including: planting tips, nutritional information, squash selection, a tasty recipe, and more! This newsletter also includes an interactive map that is linked to Google Maps. Users can click on their desired local foods operation and be given directions to the business. Following the map is a quick-reference table containing the local businesses in the area that sell local acorn squash. Don’t forget to check out our upcoming local food classes! For email reminders of future local foods newsletters fill out this short form.

pics of fruits and veggies in season-October

Food Highlight


Fun Fact.  Acorn squash is a type of winter squash aptly named for the shape of the squash. When mature, these squash are a deep green color with large ridges. Winter squash are harvested in the fall and include a variety of gourds such as acorn squash, butternut squash, spaghetti squash, and pumpkins. Their thick skin, or rind, allows the squash to be stored for months before they go bad. Because of this, winter squash were an important food to initial settlers here in North America. This native vegetable was a common plant grown by Native Americans as well. Interestingly, they preferred the seeds to the flesh, as the flesh was considered too hard to be eaten.

winter squash, pumpkins

Planting. Acorn squash, as well as other winter squash, can be planted starting in April through August here in Currituck. Because of this long planting season, and their quick growth rate, homeowners can plant two crops of acorn squash a year if desired. These squash can be planted either as seeds or as transplants to accelerate their growth. Regardless of if they are seeds or transplants, acorn squash should be planted three feet apart to allow for adequate room to grow.

acorn squash plants

Cooking Spotlight 


Nutritional information. Acorn squash is full of complex carbohydrates and fiber. Although many diets shy away from carbohydrates, they are actually one of the 7 essential nutrients our bodies need. Carbohydrates fuel our bodies, giving us energy and helping our brain to function properly. Fiber plays a key role in the body’s digestive system. Potassium, niacin, iron, and beta-carotene are also nutrients found in acorn squash. In the body, beta-carotene becomes Vitamin A, essential for healthy skin, vision, bone development and, many more body functions. Generally, the darker the orange color, the higher the beta-carotene or Vitamin A. 

Selecting. When selecting squash look for ones with hard shells, no soft spots and a heavyweight for size. Soft spots indicate the squash was picked too early, and a lightweight indicates that the inside of the squash has begun to dry. If properly stored, acorn squash can last up to 3 months in a cool, dry space. 

Stuffed Acorn Squash


Stuffed squash

Ingredients:

  • 1 medium acorn squash
  • 1/2 medium sweet potato
  • 3 turkey sausage patties
  • 1/2 cup steamed spinach
  • 1 dried oregano
  • 1 t onion powder
  • 1 t garlic powder
  • 1 T butter

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400°F and on the stovetop, add 3 cups water to a medium pot for boiling
  2. Cut squash in half, scrape out the seeds, and bake for one hour at 400°F until the flesh is soft.
  3. In the meantime, peel the sweet potato and chop into uniform cubes for mashing.
  4. Add sweet potatoes to the boiling water, and cook for about 15 minutes. Place the turkey sausage patties in a separate dish and put them in the oven twenty minutes before the squash is to come out.
  5. When the squash comes out of the oven, remove the flesh with a spoon, reserving the shells. Mash and whip the sweet potato and squash together. Add all other ingredients to this mash, mix, and spoon back into the squash shells. Bake an additional 15 minutes.

Nutrition information per serving (2/3 cup): 130 calories, 7 fat (2.5 g saturated fat), 5g protein, 320mg sodium, 4g dietary fiber. Excellent source of Vitamins A & C. Good source of iron.

Recipe adapted from UGA’s University Health Center Recipe Archive

This interactive map contains many of the businesses in Currituck that sell local produce. To view the map legend, click the small square box at the left of the map name. This should bring up a list of the direct sale markets, pick-your-own operations, roadside markets, vineyards and breweries, and N.C. seafood operations on the left. You can then click on the pins on the map or on the legend to view each local business. Each listing will contain a contact number, operating season and hours, and produce the business sells. If you click the View in Google Maps option below the description you will be given directions to the business from your current location.

Highlighted Businesses


 

The highlighted business section shows the businesses that sell the month’s highlighted local food. This month we have three businesses that will be open and selling acorn squash. Information on those businesses can be found in the table below, or in the interactive map above.

 

Name Phone Hours Address
Powell’s Roadside Market (252) 339-9923 7:00 a.m. – 8:00 p.m. 2138 Caratoke Hwy, Moyock
Grandy Greenhouse & Farm Market (252) 453-2658 8:00 a.m. – 5:30 p.m. 6264 Caratoke Hwy, Grandy
Morris Farm Market (252) 453-2837 9:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m. 3784 Caratoke Hwy, Maple

For email reminders of upcoming local food newsletters fill out this short form. If you have a local food operation you would like advertised in upcoming installments, please fill out our producer form or contact Adam Formella by email or phone at Adam_Formella@ncsu.edu or 252-232-2262.