Thursday, September 24, 2009

Farewell Summer Squash

It's amazing to watch the cycles of harvest throughout a season. What was once abundant, everywhere you looked, and couldn't seem to get rid of, is now waning and will soon be gone until next year. Take summer squash for instance. When it was at it's peak there was a small city of crates of squash filling up the cooler, for several weeks even. We spent many hours loading and unloading it, sorting it, and sending a criminal amount to the chickens or the compost. At times it seemed like squash that left the farm for market over the weekends just took a tour of the city and came back. Restaurants ordered a few bushels here and there but certainly not enough to make a dent in the supply. Squash was a CSA regular for weeks and sometimes members even received 2 or 3 pounds of it. Our field manager Khaled would joke that we should give a crate to every member (and there were times we almost could!). I definitely ate more squash in one season than I ever have in my life.

Now that summer squash is on it's way out, we are unable even to fulfill all our orders for it. Everyone seems to want some all of the sudden. Today I packed more orders of squash than at any time while it was peaking out a few weeks ago. Perhaps it's the taking over of the winter squashes that have folks scrambling for that last bit of summer, or perhaps I didn't notice as much before because whatever amount left the farm, there was always more left behind.

Caramelized Summer Squash and Basil
This super simple dish I prepared many times this summer with variations. Heat a pan, toss in a generous amount of butter, add thinly sliced onion and burn a little, then add thinly sliced squash and keep the heat at a medium high. Let the squash brown before you turn it and keep rotating the pieces until they all get nicely browned a bit. Just before it's done add some basil, I like it chiffonaded, sliced in thin ribbons. Salt and pepper to taste. Delicious!

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