Celebrating Squash at Prairie Garden Farm

My trek from suburbanite to flower farmer extends over two decades, dozens of how-to books and magazine subscriptions, and the practical (read “backbreaking”) experience of digging in dirt and watching things grow. My friends and family sometimes question my sanity, but walking to the barn in the early morning, hearing the turkeys call from the wetlands below and watching a bald eagle soar above assures me that I made the right choice. Part of seeking an “idyllic” country life stemmed from the wish to produce and preserve much of the food I eat. From chickens to grass fed beef to chemical free garden produce, I have tried it all and have been rewarded with healthy, abundant food for going on ten years. This year, in an effort to try new varieties, I have been inundated with winter squash.  From giant jumbo pink bananas (the food that sustained the early settlers in harsh Minnesota winters) to the dainty and delectable Delicatas, I have more squash than I can shake a stick at and my practical side requires finding new and delicious ways of serving up this old favorite.

Winter squash are good to excellent sources of Vitamin A, Beta-carotene, Potassium, Vitamin C and Fiber. They also contain Niacin, Folate and Iron, are low in calories and are fat and cholesterol free. On top of all these nutritional benefits, they are just down right tasty, and can be used in a variety of sweet and savory dishes. I serve them as a side substitute for potatoes (baked, boiled and mashed), combined with leeks in a savory soup, and in place of sugar pumpkins in breads, pies, bars and cakes. My family has become accustomed to my squash experiments, and my ever-lovin’ hubby has been most generous (brave?) to be my guinea pig in all my squash endeavors. Below are two of my favorite squash recipes (with recommended squash varieties) for you to try in your own kitchen.


Stuffed Delicata Squash (adapted from Moosewood Comprehensive Stuffed Squash)


2 delicata squash, halved and cleaned

½ c chopped onion

½ c peeled and chopped apple

¼ c golden raisins

1 cup grated cheddar cheese

¼ c sunflower seeds


  • Place squash flesh side down in a baking pan containing ½ inch water.  Bake in 350° oven for 30 minutes.  (Poke squash with a fork, when it is soft, it’s done.)  
  • While squash is baking, sauté chopped apples, sliced onions and raisins. Remove from heat, stir in cheddar and sunflower seeds. 
  • Flip squash, stuff center with apple mixture and return to oven for 10 minutes or until cheese melts. Squash can be served as a main dish or a side.

Marbled Squash Brownies (adapted from Smitten Kitchen pumpkin swirl brownies)


8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, plus more for pan
6 ounces bittersweet chocolate
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups sugar 

4 large eggs
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups drained mashed squash
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

(I use Pink Banana or Moregold, a golden buttercup variety, for my mashed squash.)

Cook, mash and drain liquid out of squash to acquire 1 ¼ c mashed squash.

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9-inch square baking pan, line the pan with parchment, and grease the parchment paper.

2. Melt chocolate and butter in microwave, double boiler or heat proof bowl set over simmering water.

3. Combine flour, baking powder, cayenne, and salt in a large bowl; set aside. Cream sugar, eggs, and vanilla; beat until fluffy and well combined, 3 to 5 minutes. Stir in flour mixture.

4. Pour half of batter (about two cups) into a separate bowl and stir in chocolate mixture. 

5. Combine mashed squash, oil, cinnamon, nutmeg and remaining batter. Pour ½ squash batter in baking pan, layer ½ chocolate batter, repeat.

6. Gently swirl the two batters, with a sharp knife, to create a marbled effect. Be sure to get your knife all the way to the bottom of the pan.

7. Bake until set, 40 to 45 minutes. Let cool in pan on a wire rack. Cut into 16 squares. 


Here’s wishing much luck in all your squash-ventures. Many varieties of this wonderful cucurbit store well throughout the cold winter months, and will warm your insides and your outsides! For a little more information on harvesting and storing squash, click here.


Robin Trott grew up in the suburbs of Baltimore, MD and dreamed of the country life.  These dreams came true on the eve of her 40thbirthday. Along with her three daughters and husband, she packed up her things and moved to rural west central Minnesota. The years following this major life move have been full of new experiences: raising pigs, poultry, cattle and horses; cut flower production, market gardening, harvesting and preserving food, and living a simple life (read: really, really hard work!). The rewards of the fresh air, good neighbors, clear night skies, and home grown produce and meat are well worth all the sweat and tears put into the farm. She is a devoted “sustainable” farmer, educator, and local food advocate.