Native Maine Local Blog

Customer Kudos and Squash Facts

Chef David Turin works with studentsCustomers' in the News:

On November 8, Native Maine was proud to sponsor SMCC’s A Light on the Point celebration.  Featuring renowned chefs from Central Provisions, David’s, Evo, Lolita, Piccolo, Sur Lie and UNION partnering with SMCC students and faculty, the lucky guests enjoyed an unparalleled evening of food and drink. This annual event celebrates the many partners who help Southern Maine Community College students earn college degrees, join the workforce, and become community leaders. This year the American Culinary Federation (ACF) Casco Bay Association was honored for its long-time support of the SMCC culinary students.  A Light on the Point raised more than $50,000 in support of SMCC students and Culinary Arts and Hospitality Management programs.  

On November 9, Dimillo’s on the Waterfront hosted a benefit dinner designed to help end child hunger in Maine. Chef Melissa Bouchard presented an inspired, six course bourbon & beer-themed dinner to support Full Plates, Full Potential, a non-profit dedicated to ending childhood hunger.  Native Maine was privileged to purchase a table to support this great cause.

Holiday Spectaculars Coming up:

Native Maine is excited to sponsor the Coastal Maine Botanical Garden’s annual winter spectacular, Gardens Aglow!  Located in Boothbay Harbor,  the Botanical Garden hosts the largest light show in Maine from November 17-December 31.  Hundreds of thousands of lights are strung through their upper gardens in a stunning display.  In addition to dramatic lighting, visitors can enjoy special food and beverage options in the Kitchen Garden Café and holiday shopping in the Gardens Gift Shop. Grab a friend, enjoy appetizers or a cocktail, and then experience an enchanting evening of festive lights and displays. http://www.mainegardens.org/calendar-events/gardens-aglow/

Native Maine is also proud to sponsor Nonantum Resort’s 8th Annual Fire & Ice event coming up on December 8 & 9. With blazing bonfires, ice bars and sculptures, local food, and live music, Fire & Ice is the perfect ending to Kennebunkport’s Christmas Prelude! Event proceeds benefit the Education Foundation of the Kennebunks as well as the Arundel and Kennebunkport Emergency Medical Services. Check it out at://www.eventbrite.com/e/fire-ice-2017-tickets-

Vegetable Lore

As you know, Thanksgiving is this week; I figured we should celebrate a vegetable native to the Americas and currently in season: SQUASH!  Wait, don’t stop reading!  Winter squash has an interesting place in our history.  Most of the world’s winter squashes are native to the Americas; there is evidence of its cultivation going back to at least 8,000 B.C in Central Mexico, Peru, and the Eastern United States!  Squash, along with dried beans and corn, is a member of the “Three Sisters”; the term Native American farmers gave to the classic form of mixed cropping where plants grow together in a supportive, symbiotic relationship.

The word squash comes from the Narragansett indian word“askutasquash”, which translates to “eaten raw or uncooked.” If you don’t like squash, you are not alone. Narragansett Indians served the hungry pilgrims a chowder of seafood and squash; the finicky Pilgrims didn’t eat it. Instead, after the Indians left, the Pilgrims fed the chowder to their pigs! The pilgrims changed their minds about squash once the long, cold winter set in and they faced starvation; squash soon became a staple of their diet.

More squash facts:

  • Virtually, the entire squash plant is edible. The leaves, tendrils, shoots, stems, flowers, seeds, and fruit can be eaten.
  • In 2011, the U.S. ranked 4th in the world in squash production, growing 743.8 million pounds of squash for fair market valued at 283 million dollars.
  • The U.S. is actually the world's largest importer of squash; we imported more than 270,000 metric tons of squash in 2011 (95% of this from Mexico).
  • The world’s largest hubbard squash was grown in,Ontario, Canada; weighing in at 674.3kg, or 1,486.6lbs; this giant smashed the previous record by over 100kg.
  • Winter squash is delicious! If you’ve only experienced it as a watery, bland puree, a whole world of roasted, sauteed, shredded, and “squoddled” squash awaits; try the recipe below!

Cook This!
Caramelized Acorn Squash

  • 2 beautiful Native Maine  acorn squash, halved and seeds and interior pulp removed.
  • 2 tablespoons Marconi olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons Native Maine Brand Maple Syrup
  • 1 tsp Coarse Maine sea salt
  • ¼ tsp cayenne pepper or any ground or flake hot pepper in your pantry. (My favorite is Aleppo pepper)

Put Place oven rack on lowest setting; preheat to 400 degrees.
Place sheet pan in oven to heat.
Wash squash; no need to peel!  Cut squash into half and remove seeds. Cut halves into 1” wedges and place in large bowl.
Toss squash with olive oil, maple syrup, salt, and hot.  Make sure each slice is well coated.
Remove hot sheet pan from oven. Carefully place squash slices on pan in a single layer.  Don’t crowd the slices.
Roast 15 minutes. Remove pan from oven and turn each squash slice over; at the same time move the exterior slices in the interior of the pan and vice versa to ensure even browning and caramelization.
Cook for 10 minutes more or until squash slices are cooked through. Eat the squash, peel and all. Yum!

Everyone at Native Maine wishes you and yours
a safe and happy Thanksgiving!

Enjoy the squash!

 

Local You Know

At Native Maine Produce & Specialty Foods we're working hard to connect our customers with the freshest, quality produce & specialty products available. We believe in supporting New England's vibrant and diverse food system by providing locally grown & processed food items alongside some of the world’s best specialty foods sourced from around the globe.

As one of New England’s leading produce wholesale distributors with 3000+ quality items in stock, our 2000+ New England customers have access to local, regional & hard to find specialty foods delivered frequently at very competitive prices. We are your neighbors; we are the Local You Know.

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