The bounty of fall

Celebrating the changing of the menus

Harvest season. Halloween is over, our clocks fell back, the weather finally feels like fall. I enjoy the cooler temperatures, and one thing I most look forward to each year at this time is the changing of the menus. Locally grown squash, apples, broccoli, kiwis, pomegranates and potatoes dominate farmers' markets and grocers, and I am ready to switch from summer salads and sandwiches to heartier stews and casseroles. Writing about it is enough to give me the munchies.

And highlighting the bounty of fall—and this region—is the annual Farm City Celebration, now in its 35th year. The event was created to bring the community closer to its food sources. These days, with the resurgence of interest in locally grown foods, it's almost cliché to call something “farm to fork,” but that's exactly what Farm City has been celebrating since well before it became fashionable. Join the festivities this week, including the 10th annual Harvest Festival at Bidwell Mansion, Saturday, Nov. 8, 10 a.m.-2 p.m., and the Agri-Business Bus Tour and Lunch, Wednesday, Nov. 12, 7 a.m. (For more on Farm City Celebration, visit

Farm City and our regular farmers' markets are good reminders of exactly what fruits and veggies are in season 'round these parts, and as the fall crops populate the fields and stalls, so to do the delicious byproducts—apple cider, pumpkin pie, and squash-based soups. Of course, pumpkin might be the most ubiquitous of the fall squash—and thanks to leftover jack-o'-lanterns, maybe the most plentiful right now—but while I love me a pumpkin latte or a scoop of Shubert's pumpkin ice cream, when it comes to fall soups, it's all about the butternut squash for me. So, visit your favorite farmers' market vendor and pick up the few ingredients for this delicious meal, recipe courtesy of Yum.

Butternut Squash Soup

1 tsp. olive oil

1 clove garlic, minced

1/2 cup chopped onion

1 tsp. fresh sage, chopped

1/2 tsp. salt

1/8 tsp. ground black pepper

3 cups fat-free chicken broth

1 1/2 lbs butternut squash (peeled, seeded, cubed)

parmesan cheese (garnish)


Add oil, garlic and onion to large stockpot over medium heat.

Sauté for 3-4 minutes.

Add sage, salt, pepper, broth and squash and bring to a boil.

Cover, reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes or until squash is tender.

Puree half of the soup in a food processor or blender and return to pot.

Garnish with parmesan cheese and fresh sage.