By SUSAN ERICSON
For those who think the season for fresh produce is over, there are still many vendors showing up at the Red Bank Farmers’ Market to prove them wrong. It is the perfect time of year to buy fresh apple cauliflower, cabbage and Brussels sprouts.
But squash pumpkins and other cruciferous vegetables take center stage this time of year.
“I like to simply roast them and eat them,” Lisa Bagwell, of the Certified Organic stand, said of the different varieties pumpkins and squash. Noting the smaller blue hubbard squash, she added: “These are delicious. The gourds, on the other hand, are not delicious.”
The chill in the air last Sunday brought with it a feeling of autumnal excitement. Enormous white ghost pumpkins grown on the Cream Ridge farm of Organic Produce created quite an eyecatching display. Everywhere you looked, there were pumpkins, squash and gourds. Varieties like winter red kuri and kubocha brought to mind creamy squash soups and sweet baked pies.
Shopping at the market, Leia Simis and Angus McDougald stopped to hand over a baby-sized pumpkin to their daughter, Jade.
“We used to make baby food out of these,” Simis said. “Now she eats whatever we eat. She has a pretty varied diet.”
“We try to eat the farm to table stuff,” McDougald added.
Sugar pumpkins and cheese pumpkins were choice for those ready to start their pumpkin pie baking. Other hot items: butternut and acorn squash, which are often used interchangeably in recipes, and as a substitute for pumpkin in soup and pies, were seen in many of the reusable tote bags.
Larger ornamental pumpkins got snatched up as well by families planning to put them under the knife and artistically alter the orange-skinned squash into frightfully ghoulish Halloween Jack-O-Lanterns. A table crowded with micro gourds, looking for all the world like angry little pumpkins, was one last stop on this farmers’ market tour. At a buck a pop, they were a cute take-home souvenir.
The Red Bank Farmers’ Market gathes every Sunday, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., through mid-November, in the parking lot at the Galleria of Red Bank, corner of West Front Street and Shrewsbury Avenue.