(2013) The true sign that fall has officially begun is the arrival of our variety pumpkin displays at the front or our markets. We offer one of the widest varieties of Northwest-grown pumpkins in the area.
All of our stores are receiving their initial deliveries of the Sterino Farms (Puyallup) Jack-O-Lantern Pumpkins this week. We’ll be adding all the other Northwest varieties over the next several days. The varieties include Knucklehead, Pink, Cinderella, Ghost, Sugar Pie and Long Island Cheese pumpkins. Sugar Pies are exactly what the name suggests – they’re known for their sweet, thick flesh that’s great for making pies.
But, if you really want to experience the ultimate in pumpkin pie, try the Long Island Cheese pumpkin. It is a member of the Butternut squash family and truly makes a wonderful pumpkin pie, among other great things (we have it in both conventional and organic). Our culinary resource folks developed a pie recipe just for those Long Island Cheese Pumpkins – check it out in our Recipe section.
In addition to those pumpkins, you’ll see a wide variety of ornamental pumpkins, corn and gourds along with corn stalks everything you will need to complete your Halloween decorations.
Need more signs that fall is really here? By early October, you won’t see any more of those berries, melons and stone fruits – they’re slowly disappearing and being replaced with a new crop of Northwest apples and pears.
Other Northwest fall items that are coming into full production as we move into October are hard squashes, chanterelle mushrooms and potatoes.
The chanterelles are having an exceptional year. Look for an excellent value on this wild and wonderful mushroom Oct. 2-8. Chanterelles, which look almost like an exotic flower, have a distinctive, and pleasing, aroma – often described as similar to apricots or peaches. Their season usually runs from September into November. They keep well in the refrigerator if wrapped in waxed paper or a brown paper bag until they’re cleaned. Cleaned ones can stay in the fridge for a few days.
If you’d like to enjoy them all year, you can easily freeze sautéed chanterelles for the winter months. Simply clean your mushrooms (brush lightly if they’re pretty clean, or run under a low flow of water and brush lightly if not, drain in a colander, then place onto a rack surface with a towel and place by a fan or a sunny window). After cleaning, cut them into whatever sized pieces you want. Sauté in butter or your favorite oil and seasoning at a high heat until cooked – uncovered (you don’t want them soggy!). Freeze in usable portions of your choice. We should have this mushroom well into November, but that will be determined by Mother Nature. Once it is too wet and cold the mushrooms will vanish until next year.
Speaking of Mother Nature, we are now seeing some Northwest items disappearing from the market, which will cause us to begin looking farther south for the winter over the next several weeks. Items like zucchini, cucumbers, eggplant, peppers, beans and lettuce are winding down fast. We will first look to California, followed by Arizona and Mexico. Just an FYI, Mexico is currently having its own challenges with weather! Severe tropical storms hit the mainland over this past weekend dumping as much as 30 inches of rain. The short-term forecast is for several more rain events in the region over the next several days. At this point, crop damage is undetermined, but we do know that it is affecting the avocado, tomato and mango supply. We will keep you posted as we learn more.
Have a great week! Joe