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‘They’re all good’: Don’t be intimidated by winter squash

WINCHESTER—Pumpkin picking may have come to an end, but another member of the gourd family is in abundance at Virginia farmers’ markets right now.

Winter squash is at its peak.

Acorn, buttercup, butternut and kabocha are a few of the popular varieties of winter squash grown by John Marker of Marker-Miller Orchards in Frederick County.

“They make a nice addition to our apples,” said Marker, who harvests winter squash at the beginning of October and sells them at his farm market through Thanksgiving.

“They’re good to bake, and you can make soups and pies with them as well,” said Marker, who serves on the Virginia Farm Bureau Federation Small Fruit & Vegetable Advisory Committee. “And they’re good for you. I like to call them weight-friendly.”

Winter squash are low in calories and high in vitamin C. The main difference between summer and winter squash is the thickness of the winter varieties’ shells, Marker said. Like their summer-grown cousins, winter squash varieties have subtle distinctions in flavor and texture, but “they’re all good,” he added.

Evie Woods, co-owner of Liberty Mills Farm LLC in Orange County, said this year’s crop of winter squash was excellent. She grows about 8 acres of pumpkins and squash and sells them at her farm stand.

Butternut is a favorite winter squash variety, but Woods tries to get her customers to branch out by offering them recipes for more unusual varieties such as blue hubbard and spaghetti squash.

“I tell them not to be intimidated by winter squash,” she said. “It’s easy to cook, and it stretches a long way.”

Once customers try her recipe for mock coconut pie made with spaghetti squash, she said, they are willing to experiment.

Contact Marker at 540-662-1980 or Woods at 540-672-8471.
Posted in: Squash

 

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