"When I pass a flowering zucchini plant in a garden, my heart skips a beat."
-Qwyneth Paltrow, actress and cookbook author

Come by and meet our Farm Stand Friday vendors!

Farm Stand vendors (and products) change from week to week, with Ranch Foods Direct welcoming neighborhood gardeners, artisan bakers and talented home cooks to set up a table and share their labors of love! Seize the opportunity to buy local and shake the hand that grew your gourd, ground your grain or made your mustard!  
Chat with Farm Stand vendors and get great recipes and food prep ideas... For example, from plentiful summer zucchini (which inspires jokes for being almost too prolific) to decorative and delicious winter varieties, the squash bounty starts to really pile up as summer turns to fall! Here, Farm Stand Friday vendors talk about what they do to use up this abundant item available now through the end of September...

GROWER Jason Mathis, District 11 chef and home gardener (above left)
FAVORITE VARIETY Pink banana: "The skins are edible, and the insides are awesome, with great texture and flavor."
FAVORITE WAYS TO PREPARE IT "Big rustic chunks roasted in a chai-spiced Balsamic reduction and served with brown butter sauce."
OTHER SQUASH-FRIENDLY SUGGESTIONS: Simply sauté it with garlic and onions; grill and add to salads; make into veggie chips or fritters and serve with Thai-chile dipping sauce; slice very thin and use in place of pasta; dehydrate and add to winter soups.
BONUS TIP "Make refrigerator pickles now, and they'll last you all winter."
GROWER Ruthie Markwardt, Prospect Gardens (above, center)
FAVORITE VARIETY "The Blue Hubbard: they are native to North America and grow up to be big, giant mammas! We grew one that last year that was 36 pounds! That can feed you for a good long while. They're brightly colored on the outside and on the inside: nutritious, delicious and beautiful!"
FAVORITE SQUASH RECIPE Squash curry with coconut milk.
AVAILABLE THIS MONTH Prospect Gardens has several varieties of summer and winter squashes, including butternut, acorn and the Navajo Gray, a sister to the Blue Hubbard.

GROWER Monica Parker, owner of Katie's Corner (named for her daughter, who grows their produce from seed and bakes the breads, cookies and pastries) (Monica is shown, above right)
FAVORITE VARIETY Butternut, acorn or yellow straight-neck summer squash
FAVORITE PREPARATION "I prefer a winter squash cut in half and baked with butter on top, no sugar. My favorite recipe for summer squash is from the website OurBestBites.com; it's a casserole with a crumb topping. It's really pretty when you make it with a combination of green and yellow squashes." ( CLICK HERE to get the recipe for Zucchini Gratin)
AVAILABLE THIS MONTH "We have a lot of different varieties of heirloom pumpkins and winter squash planted this year. In fact, I think we might have overdone it!" (To see examples of diverse varieties, go to RareSeeds.com, the site of the Baker Creek Seeds catalog.) "We'll have late season kale too," she adds. 

Farm Stand Friday continues in September, every Friday right outside the store, from 3 to 6 p.m. 

Goodies with a goal: preserving traditions

During Farm Stand Friday, Cynthia Chung has been selling intricate, delicate Chinese pretzels (in both sweet and savory variations) to raise donations for the Golden Lotus Foundation.
"We want to create a place in Colorado Springs where we can host activities and events and also have a central location so people who are looking for interpreters or other assistance can find us and get the help they need," she explains.

The organization's main goal is preserving Asian cultural traditions, including art, music and traditional tea ceremony: "We're losing our heritage. Our parents never had any resources to help them educate the next generation about their culture. We want to change that."

Asian cultural traditions include unique foods. One of Cynthia's favorites is Lo Bak Go, aka Radish or Turnip Cake, typically served as a savory appetizer or side dish. It's made from grated turnips (or Daikon radish) rice flour and chopped shrimp or sausage, prepared baked or steamed, and typically served with plum sauce.
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We will be CLOSED Mon., Sept. 4, for Labor Day