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October is Non-GMO month!

Posted by shelby on October 22, 2013

The Non-GMO project has deemed October “Non-GMO Month,” in which retailers and consumers make an extra effort to share knowledge and information surrounding the dangers of Genetically Modified Organisms in our food.

Luckily for us, we celebrate Non-GMO Month every month- we make every effort to keep our store free of GMOs. Next Friday, October 25th, we will be donating 5% of sales up to $500 to the Non-GMO Project, a nonprofit which helps consumers make informed choices by verifying products as Non-GMO.

Get involved!

Attach these candy tags to your non-GMO candy this Halloween. Print them out at home or pick some up in the store- we also have accompanying educational brochures. You will find lots of safe candy options in the center aisle of our store this month.

Have a happy and healthy Non-GMO Month!

Ask Patrick About Squash

Posted by Patrick on October 09, 2013

ASK PATRICK IN PRODUCE:

Dear Patrick;

I’ve been given spaghetti squash and a strange green hard winter squash. My local squash-farmer says they’re delicious, but I don’t know how to cook them, and I am afraid that one of them may take over my house and replace my family with alien replicants.

- Confused by Cucurbita, Jackson, MS

Advice

Dear Confused;

The best way to ensure that your family isn’t replaced with pod-people look alikes by rogue vegetables is proper preparation of the squash in question.

In the summer, this is incredibly easy. Entire cookbooks are stuffed with stuffed squash recipes. Frankly, though, that’s not what you’re looking for.

That big yellow monster is the spaghetti squash, aka vegetable marrow, aka Cucurbita pepo variety fastigata..

This is not some soft summer squash, this is no nutty zucchini. Nor is it a creamy butternut, or hearty green acorn squash. No, this is a strange beast indeed.

But, you must overcome your trepidation, lest you disappoint that humble and generous squash farmer. Take heed of my advice, for it will serve you well.

First, preheat your stove to about 400 degrees. For smaller squash you may tend towards 350, for larger squash make sure you’re at or slightly above 400.

Get a very sharp knife and stab your squash a few times. You’re going to be cooking it whole, so if you don’t puncture the hard skin, you may have an oven full of exploded squash. While “Squash Explosion” is a great band name, it’s a terrible thing to have happen in your oven.

This takes about an hour. Again, slightly longer for larger squash, slightly less time for smaller ones. Your cooking time may vary, but it will be close to one hour. With larger squash you may want to turn it over or roll it around a few times. When the rind wrinkles, the squash sags, and the skin looks a little burned, you’re good to go.

With utmost caution you must remove the squash from the oven. Make sure you’ve got great oven mitts. Let it sit cooling on the counter for 10 minutes or more, then cut it in half latitudinally, at the “equator.” Try to make one continuous cut.

squasher

Now, you have two halves of a spaghetti squash. Scoop out the seeds. You can put them on a tray and bake them, or make seed and macaroni art, or feed them to birds. Your choice.

Take a fork, and stab the flesh! The flesh should give way easily. If not, just put it back in the oven for 10 minutes, split side down on an oiled pan. Take your fork, then jab and pull the strands towards the hollow in the squash, from the stem end to the blossom end. Repeat as necessary, until you’ve got a mass of spaghetti-style “noodles.”

These noodles don’t have a ton of flavor. They go great with tomato sauce, white sauce, pesto, or a simple coating of butter, salt, and pepper.

You can make asian-style noodle dishes with them, using hot peppers, garlic, and oil. Throw curry on top of them. Make noodle soup. Really, anything you can do with a pot of noodles, you can do with a pile of spaghetti squash noodles. They have a mild, slightly nutty acorn-squash flavor, and a nice bit of crunch.

Now, you’ll notice that you have a hard green winter squash left on your kitchen counter. It probably hasn’t moved, but I can’t recommend chopping and cooking one squash in front of another.

You’ll want to cook this one differently. Cut it longways, first. Remove the woody stem to make this process much easier. Scoop out any seeds with a spoon. They likely won’t be big enough to eat, but if they are, feel free to coat them in oil, salt them, and bake them on a dish.

Preheat the oven to 350. Patiently. Spend the time chatting with your squash farmer. Call up your family and hang up on them when the oven timer goes off - it’s your time, use it as you will.

Or, you can take your squash halves and add a dab of butter to the hollow squash. You can use almost any oil you want, but I like butter. Coconut oil adds an exotic sweetness, but olive oil will likely burn.

Place your squash halves in the oven, cut side up, and roast away. Depending on the size, it can take anywhere from 10 to 40 minutes. Just wait for the top to bubble and brown and the skin to wrinkle and crumple.

Now remove this from the oven, and scoop out the soft flesh with a spoon. If it is too hard to easily scoop, bake it some more!

I hope this answers your questions about squash and saves the lives of your family. Remember, squash are delicious, nutritious, and affordable. Therefore we must be eternally vigilant and always eat as many of them as we can possibly manage.

NEXT TIME: “Dear Patrick, I’m a 1700’s sailor trying to circumnavigate the globe. Do you have any advice?”

October Employee of the Month

Posted by shelby on October 09, 2013

Jeff Haddock, our new Cold Goods Manager, is employee of the month. He just recently stepped into this role and has been working extremely hard, despite becoming a father for the first time just a few short weeks ago! Let Jeff know what a great job he’s doing next time you shop.

Rainbow shoppers are the best!

Posted by shelby on October 09, 2013

Thanks to the generosity of Rainbow shoppers through our Roundup program, we presented a check of $542.06 to Mississippi Spay and Neuter yesterday. We can do amazing things when we all work together! Remember to “Round Up” to the nearest dollar when you shop. All of the donated funds will go to the chosen Roundup recipient, which changes monthly.