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The spring showers have been stubborn—and the first tender green leaves of spinach were harvested late—but at Restoration Farm in Old Bethpage, hearty, auburn-hued winter squash is already on the minds of farmers and members.
Volunteers gathered on Memorial Day to seed stacks of flats with winter squash varieties that included butternut squash, acorn squash, New England Pie Pumpkin, and our very own, home grown Long Island Cheese Pumpkin.
Restoration Farm head grower Caroline Fanning says the farmer is always looking a season ahead, even if the timing seems a little off kilter.
“It felt odd when I first started farming that you’re coming into the solstice and then suddenly you’re planting these fall crops, which feels very anachronistic,” says Fanning. “But, when you repeat the process for enough years, it just starts to feel like part of the cycle.”
For this member—who always gets a thrill seeing dozens of fat pumpkins stacked up during October distribution days—the chance to get in on the inception of Long Island’s original pie pumpkin was a little bit of farming feng shui. Long Island Cheese is an Old Long Island heirloom that resembles a cheese wheel in shape and is prized for its sweet orange flesh. It’s perfect for those sweet pastries we tend to crave around Thanksgiving. So, even if our current obsession is the grill, it’s not too early to be thinking about our autumn pies.
“The eating is far into the future,” says Fanning, “but the nurturing and cultivating, that’s now.”
T.W. Barritt blogs at culinarytypes.blogspot.com