What do we grow at the farm during the fall season?
The Fall season is very bountiful at most Long Island farms. When the nights begin to cool off, the greens begin to thrive once again. And the winter squashes, pumpkins, and gourds take over the fields.
On Long Island, greens thrive in the spring. Greens tend to love the cooler weather. Our greens include several varieties of lettuce, spinach, kale, Swiss Chard, and Asian Greens. A sea of beautiful shades of green fill the farm. As the heat and humidity of the summer abound, some of the spring greens don’t grow as well. But as soon as it begins to cool off a little bit in the late summer and early fall, things begin to change again. It’s now time to plant some more spinach, lettuces and Asian greens before we begin to lose hours of sun.
Kale and Swiss Chard can last for a long time into the cooler months -sometimes into December depending on the weather. And if you have a greenhouse with proper lighting, you can extend the plants even longer and through the winter,
Winter Squash is In
There are so many varieties of squash that take over the fall months including butternut, acorn, spaghetti, hubbard, kabocha, delicata, patty pan, and more!
Butternut Squash has a smooth, orange flesh with a bright orange inside. It is one of the best and most versatile of all the winter squashes. It is used for many recipes and pairs well with citrus, balsamic vinegar, sharp cheeses, herbs, and more. One of the favorites in the fall and winter months is butternut squash soup. It can be made with so few ingredients and is so warming.
Delicata squash has a yellow or cream-colored skin with dark-green stripes. This is one of the most recognizable squashes. There is also a similar looking squash called Sweet Dumpling. It has the same coloring but is more plump.
Delicata squash has moist flesh that tastes like a combination of roasted corn and lemon zest; their flavor becomes richer when roasted or sautéed. When sliced into half moon pieces and baked with some oil and seasoning, it comes out of the oven tasting like french fries! A delicious side for any meal – especially the kids!
Kabocha squash is a Japanese variety of winter squash. It is medium-sized with a rough, dark-green skin that sometimes grows with orange or white stripes. It has a starchy yellow-orange flesh with a dense texture. It almost tastes nutty with a sweet potato-like flavor. This squash is great for soups. Many people also cut it in half, remove the seeds, stuff it with all sorts of veggies and meats and enjoy it as a meal.
Acorn Squash is hard-shelled and shaped like a large nut. It may grow with white-gold, warm orange, or dark green skin, but all have the same golden flesh inside. Acorn squash is great for baking and roasting similar to most of the squash varieties. The inside cooks up dry and sweet, with a pleasant texture.
We don’t grow this as much, but Hubbard squash is often sold in chunks, so you can buy only what you need. It has thick skin that ranges from dark green to bluish-gray, and a dense orange flesh that has a rich pumpkin flavor, making this winter squash variety perfect for pies.
Spaghetti squash has become very popular as a replacement for spaghetti pasta -especially among people who are looking for fewer calories and carbohydrates. Named for the crisp spaghetti-like strands of their cooked flesh, spaghetti squash is more about texture than flavor. You can cut the spaghetti squash in half, remove the seeds, and bake in the oven. Once cooked, you take a fork and pull down on the insides of the squash. The result is spaghetti-like strands. Add some tomato sauce and you have a meal!
Small, volleyball-size, thin-skinned, burnt-orange sugar pie pumpkins are probably the most commonly found baking pumpkins. They have sweet, smooth flesh that tends to be firm and dry, so they’re especially good for pumpkin pies and other pumpkin desserts. In Long Island, we grow Cheese Pumpkins. They have white skins and have the perfect insides for making pumpkin pie.