Pumpkins—It’s time for their 15 days of fame

by Jay Reesor

Yep…it’s that time of year again. Pumpkin season! It is always fun in late August to go out to the pumpkin field and check under the leaves to see what is developing there. This year we were very pleased to see nice, large, well-shaped pumpkins.

And now it’s time for those pumpkins to head to the market for sale. They will end up on peoples’ doorsteps, some in pie, and perhaps some on desktops.

When I was a kid back on the farm, we always used to grow some pumpkins in our garden for carving up for Halloween.  They were pretty, but not nearly as attractive and robust as the varieties we grow now.  That is what good plant breeding will do for a vegetable and pumpkins are no exception. So many crops have benefited from good plant breeding to make them tastier, more disease resistant or more adapted to various climates. Something to be thankful for!

A pumpkin in many respects is associated with bounty and Thanksgiving. I hope that all of our readers have a meaningful and happy Thanksgiving.

Roasted Vegetables with Maple-Balsamic Dressing

You can use any combination or amount of the vegetables below or experiment with your own favourites.  Try serving this side dish with BBQ’d or baked sausages or fish, cole-slaw or a green salad, and a cranberry relish or other condiment.  Serve warm as a side dish or at room temperature as a salad.

The beets take the longest to cook, so if you are short on time give them a head-start in the microwave and finish them in the oven.  Try to use large cookie sheets and avoid over-crowding the vegetables, so they roast and brown more quickly.

About 8 servings

• 2 sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1 inch cubes
• 2 large parsnips, peeled and cut into ¾ inch pieces
• 2 carrots, scrubbed or peeled and cut into 3/4 chunks
• 3 beets, scrubbed or peeled and cut into ¾ inch chunks
• 1 red onion, chopped into 1 inch chunks
• 2 red peppers, chopped into 1 inch chunks
• 1 cup Brussels sprouts, trimmed
• 1 lb mushrooms, quartered
• ½ cup olive oil
• 1 tsp salt
• 1 tsp pepper
• 1 Tbsp garlic, minced

This makes almost 2 cups of dressing which provides extra for other salads.

• 1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
• 3 Tbsp maple syrup
• 2 Tbsp grainy Dijon mustard
• 1 tsp salt
• 1 tsp black pepper
• 2/3 – 1 cup olive or canola oil (depending on your taste)
• 1 cup fresh basil, chopped, optional

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Wash and prepare all vegetables.  Place parsnips, carrots and sweet potatoes in one bowl, beets in their own bowl, and remaining vegetables in another bowl.

Whisk together oil, salt, pepper and garlic.  Divide oil mixture among the 3 bowls and toss to coat.

Put the parsnips, carrots, sweet potatoes and beets on one parchment lined baking sheet, leaving a gap between the beets and other vegetables.  Put the rest of the vegetables on another parchment lined baking sheet.

Roast for about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.  When the onions are softened, remove the onion mixture from the oven and set aside to cool.  Continue to cook the remaining vegetables until they are tender and a little crisp (another 20-25 minutes), then remove from oven and set aside to cool.

Combine all the dressing ingredients, except the basil.  When the vegetables have cooled slightly, add dressing to taste.  Toss well to coat.  Garnish with the fresh basil.

Adapted from Whitewater Cooks at Home

Our giant scarecrow is waiting….
to have his picture taken with you

We welcome you to bring your family and friends to pick pumpkins in our pumpkin patch, take photos with our giant scarecrow and find your way through our corn maze.  They are all located just north of the farm market and are open during Market hours. 

You have lots of ways to choose pumpkins at Reesor Farm Market.

Untitled-4  Pick Your Own in our pumpkin patch.  You can fill a wheelbarrow for $30 or you can pick individual pumpkins and we’ll weigh them for you in the market.

Untitled-4  Fill a wheelbarrow in the Farm Market for $35.

Untitled-4  Select pumpkins from the wagons at the Farm Market that are pre-priced according to size.

Don’t forget the cranberries for your Thanksgiving dinner!

Our cooks have been busy stirring up batches of our Ruby Red Cranberry Sauce with its simple, but delicious orange and cinnamon flavours. Our cranberry sauce tastes great with our chicken and beef pies and of course turkey.

Ruby Red Cranberry Sauce is available at Reesor Farm Market and at Reesor’s Market & Bakery.

Global award-winning cheeses from along the banks of the St. Lawrence River

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The award-winning Glengarry Fine Cheese cheese-makers from left: Maria Benedicte-Pretty, Wilma Klein Swormink and Margaret Peters 

Did you know that all of the cheeses offered at Reesor’s are solely from Ontario and Quebec?  This year special congratulations are due to the cheese-makers at Glengarry Fine Cheese in Lancaster, Ontario, for their recent award in Somerset, England as Global Supreme Champion at the 2013 Global Cheese Competition for their “Lankaaster Loaf Aged” cheese.

Their “Celtic Blue” won a Bronze in the Blue Vein Cheese, as well.  We carry both of these award-winning cheeses at Reesor’s Market & Bakery in Stouffville along with several other cheeses made by Glengarry including Gouda in several flavours such as cumin.

The Lankaaster Aged is is a hard cheese with a slightly open texture formed in a loaf shape reminiscent of the Dutch farmers who traditionally slice and eat it on bread.  You can also use it when when you want to bake cheeseau gratin on potatoes or casseroles It tastes lovely alongside a fresh Ontario apple too.

The Celtic Blue is a soft creamy blue cheese, with delicate blue veining and a natural rind that is developed by specific ripening cultures. The typical blue taste is mild and is softened by a nice buttery aroma making it a good addition to a cheese plate.

Curious to see the Glengarry cheese facility and to see how cheese is made?  Check out their video link here: www.glengarryfinecheese.com/tour.htm