We’re thrilled to introduce our new contributor Waverly Fitzgerald. We look forward to sharing her wealth of knowledge about holiday and calendar lore with you here on our blog. ~ Amber Lotus Publishing
Most Americans know the semi-mythological story of the first Thanksgiving, how the Pilgrims of Plymouth Colony after a successful harvest in 1621 shared a meal with members of the Patuxet people, who had helped them plant their crops. But what many do not realize is that they were both acting out long-standing cultural traditions. The harvest festival, although it is celebrated at different times of the year and with different foodstuffs, is part of every culture around the world.
The English settlers probably brought with them memories of the Michaelmas feast (September 29), the harvest festival on the English holiday calendar, a time to return home to eat together. The Wampanoag tribe had their own harvest festivals, which coincided with the appearance of green corn and the arrival of certain fish species. In many African countries, the Odiwera festival occurs at the time of the yam harvest. In Ireland, the first potatoes. In Hungary, Italy, and Argentina, the grapes. In Papua, New Guinea, the pigs. In Bali, the rice. Everywhere, the harvest festival usually involves a lavish meal, dancing, drinking, and ceremonies expressing gratitude to those (the gods or the farmers) who provided the food.
Waverly Fitzgerald is a writer, teacher, and calendar priestess who has studied the lore of holidays and the secrets of time for decades. She shares her research and her thoughts on her Living in Season website and in her book, Slow Time. She is currently working on a series of essays about looking for nature in the city and blogs for the Seattle PI as the “Urban Naturalist.”
Harvest Season Ideas by Ann Lovejoy
from the Farm to Table 2015 Wall Calendar
October brings pumpkins to the markets in varied shapes, sizes, and colors. Sugar pumpkins are best for pies, while bigger pumpkins are perfect for soups and stews. Roast chunks of pumpkin with potatoes and carrots; then toss with mild curry powder for a savory side dish. Sauté diced pumpkin with garlic, onions, and chili peppers, and toss with hot pasta. For a charming dessert, fill tiny pumpkins (raw, cleaned, and seeded) with pumpkin pie filling and bake on a rimmed baking sheet until set (about 30 minutes). For a savory entrée, fill little pumpkins with spicy chili and top with pepper jack cheese and fresh cilantro. For a sweet-hot side dish, fill them with a spoonful of orange juice concentrate and a chopped ancho chili pepper or other mild peppers.
Sweet Dumpling Squash Cups
2 small sweet dumpling squash
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 cup cubed whole-grain bread
¼ cup walnut halves
1 tablespoon fruity olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
¼ teaspoon sea salt
¼ teaspoon smoked paprika
4 ounces soft goat cheese
Halve and seed the squash and set aside. Sauté garlic, bread cubes, and walnuts in oil over medium-high heat until garlic is golden. Add onion, salt, and paprika, and cook until tender (3–4 minutes). Remove from heat and stir in goat cheese, Spoon into squash cups and bake at 350°F until fork-tender (about 30–40 minutes). Serves 4.
With more than 20 books to her credit, award-winning author Ann Lovejoy is one of the country’s leading experts on sustainable garden design and techniques. A popular cooking and gardening columnist for numerous national and regional publications, Lovejoy is fully committed to sustainable agriculture and is active in many community projects. For more information, please visit her blog.