This week’s peak pick for our Fall into Organics celebration is a classic recipe favorite, Butternut Squash. Winter squash, also known as hard squash, is available in a variety of shapes, colors and sizes but Butternut is amongst the most common. Butternut is a versatile veggie with sweet, nutty taste similar to that of pumpkin. It is perfect for mashing, baking, pureeing and cubing. Here are a few of our latest favorite ways to enjoy Butternut:
Butternut squash is available domestically most of the year and grown all over the country, but fall is a peak time to enjoy it. (Check with your local store, there is a good chance you will find locally grown squash!)
When shopping, look for squash that are firm, heavy for their size, and that have hard, tough skin. Winter squash can be stored at room temperature in a cool, dry place for a month or more, so don’t be shy about stocking up while it is at its best!
The variety of growing regions makes the list of organic butternut growers that we love a long one; but here is one of the many that we want to thank! Thank you, Justin Trussoni and Organic Valley for supplying our stores in the Midwest with tasty organic squash!
At 24, Justin Trussoni is one of a growing number of second-generation organic farmers who are taking on the project of growing the world’s food with enthusiasm and energy. Justin started out on three-and-a-half acres which he leases from his father. “I didn’t know anything about it then,” he chuckles. He asked a number of other farmers for advice. In the Organic Valley farmers’ co-op, collaboration and information sharing is valued, so Justin had good support from the start (a fact that helps explain why young farmers like Justin succeed). Eventually, through trial and error, he developed his own system that’s a hybrid of what he learned from others and in the field.
He uses a method that minimizes the number of tractor passes he must take across the field, which not only saves labor but precious fossil fuel. He plants and cultivates his crop during the season, then instead of ripening his squash on the ground, he cures the squash on flat-bed trailers in the sun, which results in a cleaner and more consistent harvest.
Justin’s convinced that the problem of world hunger has a solution in the simple, sustainable farm practices that he’s developed on this small parcel of land in southwestern Wisconsin. Unlike the expensive, large-scale and soil-depleting farm methods that were developed since the 1960s, science-based organic farming is adaptable to virtually any
environment or crop. Young farmers like Justin are single-handedly overturning the myths about large-scale agriculture. By building balanced, healthy soils and caring for the biological systems that produce wholesome, nourishing crops, they’re proving that small-scale, organic farming—combined with smart, collaborative distribution methods—can feed the planet.
“It’s such a good feeling to walk out into the field at maturity and realize how much food you’re providing,” he says. “I can produce 40 tons of squash. That’s a lot of food for the world.”
Thanks, Justin! Got a favorite way to prepare butternut squash? We’d love to hear it!