The Beet Street Blog

What is Harvest? by Tiffany Hodson

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What does harvest mean? To the dictionary, it means “the gathering of crops, the season when ripened crops are gathered, or a crop or yield of one growing season” among other things. To me, it means life. It means family, togetherness, freshness, sustenance. It’s my favorite time of the year. I love the colors the harvest season brings, the browns, reds and yellows nature gives, along with the colors of the abundant produce. To me, harvest is a celebration of life, of food and family. We enjoy this last burst of seasonal growth, before winter comes and we all tuck in for the rest of the year.

Harvest has big significance in my family. We are direct descendants of William Bradford, the pilgrim governor who was a leader on the Mayflower, and made peace with the Wampanoag tribe who taught the pilgrims how to raise crops in their new climate. Because of this arrangement, the first Thanksgiving was celebrated with days of feasting with their new tribal friends. According to Pilgrimhall.org, by autumn the pilgrims had “fitted their houses against winter” and had “all things in good plenty” because of their successful farming.

As I remember the pilgrims’ struggle for their first successful harvest, it is interesting to think of how simple it is for us to get beautiful, fresh produce from the grocery store, farmers markets, CSA’s, etc. For me, the harvest season, especially Thanksgiving, is a time for me to appreciate the ease of access to an abundance and variety of fresh and whole food. I have an appreciation for my little garden outside that sometimes does well and sometimes doesn’t. If it’s not doing well, then it is no trouble to run to the store.

Eating fresh, seasonal food is the easiest (and funnest) part! Squash, corn, potatoes, apples, and tons more! It is easy to eat these fresh, delicious foods with minimal cooking and full flavor. Get them locally or from your own garden, and the flavor is amazing!

Simple, local grilled corn is some of the most flavorful I have ever had. Skip the butter and seasonings, and eat it right off the cob. Amazing. Cook up some squash, sauté onions in butter with salt and pepper and puree it all together for a fabulous and fresh soup! Eat an apple. Just eat it! If everyone ate this way every day, we would all get our daily vitamin and mineral requirements, and nobody would need added fiber in their yogurt. Seriously, IBS would be a thing of the past, and I bet we would see a huge decline in diabetes, heart disease, etc.

Go to LocalHarvest.org to find a farmers market or CSA near you. Get involved with your local CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) or a nearby community garden and learn how to grow your own produce! Your food can’t get any more local than from your own back yard!

Tender Pork Chops with Herbed Two Squash Pasta

4 Pork Chops
1 medium Spaghetti Squash
2 Tbsp EV Olive Oil
1 medium Zucchini Squash, sliced into coins
1/2 White Onion, small diced
2 cloves Garlic, minced
1 Cup Chicken Stock
2 Tbsp Butter
2 Tsp Parsley
2 Tsp Rosemary
2 Tsp Thyme
2 Tsp Basil
Shredded Parmesan Cheese to taste
Salt and Pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 400 f. Cut the spaghetti squash lengthwise down the center and place both halves face down in a roasting pan half way full of water. Place in the oven for about 45 minutes or until a knife poked into the side slides out easily.

In the meantime, saute the onion and garlic in the olive oil until tender. Salt and Pepper both sides of the pork chops, add the stock to the sautéed onions, nestle in the pork chops and cover the pan with a lid. Turn down the heat to Med Low. Cook the chops low and slow until cooked to your liking. They will stay tender at a low temp.

Once the spaghetti squash is finished baking, pull it out of the oven and let it cool a bit until it is comfortable to touch. Pull out the pork chops onto a plate. Using a spoon, scoop out the seeds from the squash and discard them. Using the same spoon or a fork, gently scrape the spaghetti strands out of the squash skin. Turn up the heat on the pan with the sautéed onions to med high or so, and add the spaghetti and zucchini squash. Toss to coat, melting in the butter and adding the herbs, parmesan cheese and salt & pepper. Add the chops back in and you are set to go!

Snuggle close to your sweetheart and eat up! Pack the rest for a lunch your co-workers will be jealous of!

Blog submitted by Tiffany Hodson, http://lifeaftergluten.blogspot.com

Beet Street’s Homegrown Blog

Inspired by the Harvest Season, and our upcoming Homegrown Fort Collins program, we will be featuring the Homegrown Blog for the next couple of weeks.  Look for daily stories, comments and recipies about community harvest, and cooking with local food.  We are opening this special edition of the Beet Street Blog to our community, and will feature a different guest blogger everyday.  Let’s celebrate the bounty of Northern Colorado!

Homegrown Fort Collins celebrates the harvest season and its contribution to community and local culture. The goal is to educate, celebrate, and enjoy food with a focus on local. The old adage, ‘you are what you eat,’ resonates stronger than a parent’s stern warning to their children. The harvest of a community in many ways reflects the essence of the community, and has been at the center of festivals throughout history. Beet Street’s Homegrown Fort Collins will help us take a closer look at what’s around and develop a stronger sense of place and appreciation for our local harvest.

For a full schedule of events, please visit Homegrown Fort Collins!

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