Farmers’ Market Report: Savoring the Summer Squash

Aug 17, 2012

Photo by Samuel Temblador

A weekly taste of the Echo Park Farmers’ Market.

By Samuel Temblador

Summer squash comes in many forms, from the familiar zucchini to the long, wriggly, serpentine Tromboncino. It can be shredded into spaghetti squash noodles and baked into  zucchini bread.

“It’s weird. You think, ‘Okay banana bread, that makes sense. Zucchini bread? Why would you wanna eat that?’” said shopper Starsky Suave at last week’s Echo Park Farmers’ Market after sharing his recipe for the gluten-free zucchini bread. The recipe takes almost an hour to bake and is simple to prepare, Suave said. While some  may protest at the thought of baking zucchini into bread, Suave said that you “never really notice” the small bits of the squash, which are added into an batter of mixed coconut milk, sorghum flour,  tapioca starch, brown sugar, coconut oil, and grated zucchini that Suave sprinkles with chocolate chips

Farmer Kurt Johnson of Shear Rock farms tells shoppers that when looking for good squash to buy, the produce should be firm; the freshest squash is “slightly fuzzy on the outside.” Johnson, who uses organize fertilizer, said squash plants take about sixty days to start producing squash and continue to for two months.

A pescatarian and “big squash fan,” shopper Corryn Cummins likes to check out recipes on Lux Hippie, a vegan food blog where she found a recipe for Pad Thai made from Spaghetti Squash.

The multitude of mouth watering squash dishes are not limited to the fruit of of the plant. Farmers’ market shopper Emma Madeleine has a recipe for squash blossom flowers cooked with smoked mozzarella dipped in paprika and chili powder. She coats the blossoms with butter, flour, baking powder, Pellegrino water, and then deep fries them. The fried blossoms are then served with salsa.

Justin Burrill, who grew up on a farm in Connecticut, said he prefers to “do squash real simple” by sauteeing it with butter or serving it steamed with butter and salt. His favorite squash is yellow summer squash, which he describes as having a very subtle buttery taste much like zucchini but more delicate.  Summer squashes “should be eaten right away,”  Burrill said.

That’s good advice as the sun begins to set on the summer squash harvest season.

The Echo Park Farmers’ Market is held every Friday from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. in the municipal parking lot south of Sunset Boulevard between Logan Street and Echo Park Avenue.

Samuel Temblador is a  UCLA student from South L.A. interested in journalism and communications.

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