Winter may seem far away, but winter squash varieties are already at farmers markets! While our favorite summer squashes—such as zucchini, green-and-yellow zephyr and pattypan are still in abundance, we’ve spotted winter squash varieties like delicata, acorn, kabocha, and spaghetti squash at markets in the past few weeks!
Don’t let the hard outer shell of this squash deter you! The fluffy, noodle-like texture of spaghetti squash makes it one of the more versatile varieties of winter squash. When cooked right, spaghetti squash can be enjoyed alone or as a nutritious and tasty addition to any meal. Slice your spaghetti squash in half lengthwise and scoop out the seeds and ribbing. Add a drizzle of olive oil to the inside of the squash and season with salt and pepper. Place your spaghetti squash cut side down onto a baking sheet, use a fork to poke a few holes, then roast for 30-40 minutes in a 400-degree oven. When the squash is cool to the touch, flip over so the cut side is facing up, and use a fork to scrape and fluff the strands. Enjoy straight out of the oven, or even use it as a substitute for spaghetti noodles in any pasta recipe! You can find spaghetti squash from Full Sun Farm (River Arts District and North Asheville markets), Velvet Morning Farm (Asheville City Market), Ten Mile Farm (Black Mountain and Asheville City markets), and Root Bottom Farm (West Asheville Tailgate Market).
If you’re looking for an easy way to incorporate some of this week’s market squashes into your meals, look no further than delicata squash! In addition to its sweet flavor and velvety texture, its small size and thin, edible skin makes it super easy to work with. Our favorite way to enjoy delicata squash is simply by roasting it. Start by cutting the squash in half lengthwise, scrape out the seeds and stringy flesh with a spoon, then cut the squash halves into one-inch-thick slices. Spread the squash slices into a single layer on a parchment-lined baking sheet, drizzle with olive oil, and season with salt and pepper. Bake at 425 degrees for 20-25 minutes until golden brown. Roasted delicata tastes great by itself, but can also be a wonderful addition to kale salads, tacos, or creamy pasta recipes. Look for delicata squash from Full Sun Farm, Root Bottom Farm, and Smallholding Farm (East Asheville Tailgate Market).
Kabocha squash, a Japanese variety of winter squash, has a deep, rich flavor and dense insides that make it the perfect squash variety for a delicious soup. Start by cutting one small-to-medium-sized kabocha squash into a few large pieces, scoop out the seeds and stringy insides, and place onto a foil-lined baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt, and roast in a 400-degree oven for 45 minutes to an hour. In a large pot, sauté two ribs of chopped celery and two cups of chopped yellow onion over medium-high heat for about 10 minutes. To taste, add ground ginger, cumin, coriander, and three cloves of minced garlic, sauteing for another two minutes. Remove the skin from the roasted squash and add to the pot, along with four cups of chicken stock, salt, and pepper. Simmer for another 10 minutes, then puree with an immersion blender or by slowly adding batches into a standing blender. You can find kabocha squash from Smallholding Farm and Sleight Family Farm (North Asheville Tailgate Market).
At farmers markets now you’ll also find apples, peaches, pears, figs, melons, okra, tomatoes, eggplant, summer squash, cucumbers, garlic, potatoes, beets, leafy greens, mushrooms, and much more. Markets are stocked with a variety of meats, cheese, rice, pasta, bread, drinks, and prepared foods. Find more details about farms and markets throughout the region in ASAP’s online Local Food Guide at appalachiangrown.org.