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Great time for fresh finds here

Wednesday, September 24, 2008


Now is a time of harvest. It’s starting to feel like fall, and there are many crops that are ready for picking.

According to John Huffman, of Huffman’s Fruit Farm in Salem, fall crops include pumpkins, winter squash, soy, cabbage, greens, cauliflower, broccoli, beets, onions and field corn.

This year Huffman’s harvested 30 bushels of candy onions, which, Huffman explained, are the sweetest variety.

Ornamental crops include Indian corn and gourds. “They can be eaten,” Huffman said. “But we’re not used to the taste.”

According to the Ohio State University Extension, there are more than 40 kinds of vegetables that can be grown in Ohio. A balanced selection would include two leafy or green or yellow vegetables such as lettuce, spinach, chard, kale and squash; two pod vegetables such as peas and beans; two root crops such as carrots, beets, turnips, parsnips, radishes and salsify; and favorites such as tomatoes, cabbages and other special vegetables enjoyed by the family.

Cool-season crops germinate and grow at lower temperatures and are not injured by light frost.

Huffman explained that brussels sprouts are picked during late fall because they are sweeter if they’re picked after the frost.

Other cool-season crops that are not injured by light frost are asparagus, broad beans, broccoli, cabbage, collards, garlic, horseradish, kale, kohlrabi, leeks, onions, peas, radishes, rhubarb, shallots, spinach and turnips.

The fall harvest lasts well into November. “The farmers like to be done harvesting corn and soybeans by mid-November, but sometimes they have to wait until later in the month,” said Huffman.

Within the next two weeks farmers will be done harvesting broccoli and soybeans will be ready.

Even though summer is over, peppers and tomatoes are still plentiful. Beets will be abundant throughout October, and eggplant is just starting to be picked.

With watermelon and cantaloupe just winding down, we can look forward to apples and peaches. “Peaches this year will last into October,” said Huffman. “It’s an exceptionally heavy crop this year.”

Prune-plums are just about done for the season. But pick-your-own tomatoes, peppers and apples will be available at Huffman’s through the end of October.

Much at stake

This year the Huffmans staked down quite a few tomato plants. “They grew much, much nicer,” he said. This was the first year they staked tomatoes because of the time and cost involved.

He explained that pears are plentiful right now, especially Bartlett and winter pears, and they can be stored for several months.

Huffman’s Fruit Farm began in 1953 with apples, peaches and strawberries. Huffman began helping his father on the family farm at a young age. In 1976 he became partners with his father, and in 1986 he and his wife, Emily, took over the running of the farm.

During the ’80s they added sweet corn to their crops. In 1995, Earl Slagle, whose pick-your-own farm was adjacent to Huffman’s, retired. Shortly after, in 1996, the Huffmans began growing large quantities of tomatoes and peppers.

Every fall Huffman’s conducts fall educational field trips for schools throughout the surrounding area. “I talk to them about different crops we grow, to give them an idea of a working farm,” he said.

Huffman’s Fruit Farm is open year round. After Halloween they close the barn and the operation is moved to the apple packing building located behind the barn, where they sell apples, apple cider, pears, winter squash, honey, Grandma’s jams and jellies, Ohio-grown popcorn and maple syrup.

Broccoli Supreme

2 packages frozen chopped broccoli

1‚Ñ4 pound butter, melted

1‚Ñ2 pound Velveeta cheese, grated

1‚Ñ4 pound Ritz cracker crumbs

Dash of lemon juice

Dot of mustard

Cook and drain broccoli according to package directions. Mix well with 1‚Ñ2 stick of butter, cheese, lemon juice and mustard. Pour into buttered dish. Mix cracker crumbs with remaining butter and spread on top. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.

(Recipe contributed by Elizabeth Hammond to “Favorite Recipes from our Best Cooks,” compiled by The Trumbull Baptist Neighborhood Ministries Board and Christian Friends, in support of Trumbull Baptist Neighborhood Ministries. Copyright 1968-1981.)HONEY CARROTS

6 to 8 medium carrots, pared and sliced

4 tablespoons butter

1‚Ñ4 teaspoon dry mustard

1‚Ñ4 teaspoon nutmeg

1‚Ñ4 cup honey

Cook carrots covered in a small amount of boiling salted water until tender; drain. Meanwhile, heat butter just until it melts; stir in mustard and nutmeg, then honey. Pour over carrots; reheat gently, folding sauce over carrots. Makes 6 servings.

(Recipe contributed by Eleanor Wood to “Favorite Recipes from our Best Cooks,” compiled by The Trumbull Baptist Neighborhood Ministries Board and Christian Friends, in support of Trumbull Baptist Neighborhood Ministries. Copyright 1968-1981.)

Stuffed Eggplant

1 eggplant, cut into 4 pieces

Put into a deep frying pan with cold water and about 1‚Ñ2 teaspoon salt. Allow it to come to a boil. Boil for five minutes. Drain in colander. When cool, scoop out pulp from center. Grind pulp to medium texture.


1 pound ground hamburger

3‚Ñ4 cup of bread crumbs

1‚Ñ4 teaspoon salt and black pepper to taste

2 tablespoons Romano cheese

Small clove garlic, minced

2 eggs

Mix together and add the pulp from the eggplant, mix well. Stuff eggplant shells. Put into baking dish. Drizzle with oil. Bake at 350 degrees for about 45 minutes. Cover with aluminum foil. Allow to brown uncovered for last 10 minutes.

Cabbage Plate

3 cups cabbage, coarsely chopped

2 cups sliced carrots

1 cup chopped celery

1 cup chopped onion

1 tablespoon sugar

11‚Ñ2 teaspoon salt

1‚Ñ4 cup salad oil

2 cups hot water

Combine vegetables, add seasoning and salad oil. Mix thoroughly. Add water, simmer 15 minutes.

(Recipe contributed by Mrs. M.H. Meech to “St. Christine Cookbook,” compiled by The Altar and Rosary Society in 1967.)

Bean Salad

1 can cut green beans

1 can cut yellow beans

1 can red kidney beans (rinsed)

1‚Ñ2 cup chopped green pepper

1‚Ñ2 cup chopped celery

1 onion, diced

Mix together.


2‚Ñ3 cup red wine vinegar

3‚Ñ4 cup of sugar

1‚Ñ3 cup salad oil

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon pepper

Stir the above ingredients together until the sugar is dissolved; pour over bean mixture. Chill before serving. Will keep in refrigerator for several days.

(Recipe contributed by Shirley Campbell to “Recipes: Grace United Church,” first printed in July of 1970.)

Fried Cauliflower

1 medium-sized head of cauliflower

1 egg, beaten

1‚Ñ2 teaspoon lemon juice

1‚Ñ4 teaspoon salt

Dash pepper

Dash paprika

Break cauliflower into florets. Parboil for 5-10 minutes in salted water. Drain and cool. Dip in beaten egg, mixed with the lemon juice, salt, pepper and paprika, then in cracker crumbs and deep-fry in oil at 375 degrees, until golden brown. Drain on a sheet of unglazed paper and serve piping hot. Serves six.

(Recipe contributed by Mrs. Tom W. Campbell to “Recipes old and new: Women’s Association,” The Presbyterian Church, Poland, Ohio.)

Cold Vegetable Salad

1 head fresh cauliflower, cut up

1 head fresh broccoli, cut up

1 cup fresh mushrooms, sliced

1 small jar Spanish olives, sliced (reserve juice)

1 package Italian Salad dressing mix (prepare as directed); add olive juice

Mix together; marinate overnight.

(Recipe contributed by Mary Ann O’Neil to “Double Your Cooking Pleasure,” by the Youngstown Mothers of Twins, published in 1981.)

Baked Bean Casserole

1 (1-pound) can kidney beans

1 (1-pound) can butter beans

1 (1-pound) can green beans

1 (1-pound) can garbanzo beans (chickpeas)

1 (1-pound) can pork and beans

1 (5-ounce) can tomato paste

1‚Ñ2 cup brown sugar

6 slices bacon, cut into pieces

1 medium onion, chopped

Drain all beans except pork and beans. Mix together tomato paste and brown sugar. Fry bacon, then fry onion in bacon grease. Mix all above ingredients together and put in 9x13-inch casserole. Bake covered for 30 minutes at 350 degrees. Uncover and bake for an additional 30 minutes. Can be made ahead of time. Freezes well.

(Recipe contributed by Jennie Nethers to “Double Your Cooking Pleasure,” by the Youngstown Mothers of Twins, published in 1981.)

Harvard Beets

Boil 2 bunches of beets in the skin. Peel and dice. Make a sauce using 1‚Ñ2 cup sugar and 2 teaspoons cornstarch. Stirring constantly, add 2‚Ñ3 cup vinegar; boil 5 minutes; add beets and let stand for 30 minutes. Before serving, add a lump of butter.

(Recipe contributed by Florence McCurdy to “Double Your Cooking Pleasure,” by the Youngstown Mothers of Twins, published in 1981.)