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Savoring the Seasons

The gift of food

Last week, I mailed my annual solstice gift to my friend, Anne Dal Vera. Soon, she’ll open a Ziplock bag and take a deep breath of the basil-y scent of summer. My friends appreciate my pesto gifts, but none perhaps as much as Anne.

You see, my pesto is winging its way to Anne at snowy McMurdo Station, Antarctica. Twenty years ago this January, Anne and the American Women’s Antarctic Expedition were the first group of women to ski from the edge of Antarctica to the South Pole. Now, Anne works as support staff for scientists conducting research.

Generally, my food gifts stay closer to home and not all of them smell like basil. Today, I’m joining MANY neighbors to give through Valley Gives. I’m focusing my gifts to organizations that feed our hungry neighbors, including Franklin County Community Meals Program, Food Bank of Western Massachusetts, Stone Soup Café, Seeds of Solidarity Education Center, and Just Roots. Visit valleygives.razoo.com to give the gift of food.

This Saturday, by shopping at Second Street Cafe in Turners Falls, you can help local farmland produce food forever by supporting Mount Grace Land Trust’s Campaign for Affordable Farms. See below for more information.

Or, if you’d rather “spend time and not money, because it’s cheaper” (a line from a favorite Topp Twins song), you have many giving opportunities. Contact Dino Schnelle at 413-773-5029 to volunteer at the Center for Self-Reliance Food Pantry in Greenfield or Amy Clarke at 413-772-1033 to volunteer at Franklin County Community Meals Program meals and food pantries or Ari Pliskin at 413-461-8770 to volunteer at Stone Soup Café’s Saturday meals.

Baked goodies make great gifts and potluck dishes. I received a kind message from Matt Howell of Greenfield appreciating my mention of the “Simply in Season” cookbook. Matt has been cooking from “Simply in Season” and its companion cookbooks “More with Less” and “Extending the Table” for over 25 years. I asked Matt for a favorite recipe from “SiS.” He said, “The Nutty Pumpkin Bread has become a well-received standard contribution of mine to potlucks (gotta use those pumpkins and butternut squash sitting on my dining room table!).” Also, Matt’s sister found a food blogger (thelocalcook.com) whose mission is to try out every recipe in “SiS.” World Eye Bookshop carries “Simply in Season” and can order the two companion books.

Affordable Farms Benefit, Saturday, Dec. 15, 7 a.m. to 6 p.m., Second Street Café, 104 4th Street, Turners Falls. Enjoy breakfast, coffee, lunch, and baked goods, and learn about Mount Grace Land Trust’s Campaign for Affordable Farms-Red Fire Farm Project. 10 percent of the day’s proceeds will be donated to the Campaign. Also, collecting food for food pantry at Franklin Area Survival Center next door to the bakery. Bring non-perishable food to donate or buy a loaf of bread from the bakery for the pantry. For information about the Campaign, visit:

http://mountgrace.org/farm-conservation-campaign-affordable-farms.

This Week We’re Eating …

NUTTY PUMPKIN BREAD

By Lisa Mast, Baltimore, MD (from “Simply in Season” by Mary Beth Lind and Cathleen Hockman-Wert)

1½ C. flour

1½ C. whole wheat flour

1 C. wheat germ

1 C. sugar

1 C. brown sugar

2 tsp. baking soda

1½ tsp. salt

2 tsp. ground cinnamon (optional)

½ tsp. each ground ginger, nutmeg, cloves (optional)

2½ C. pumpkin or winter squash (cooked and pureed)

4 eggs (lightly beaten)

½ C. oil

½ C. pecans or other nuts (chopped)

1 C. raisins or dates (chopped; optional)

Mix dry ingredients together in large bowl, make a well. Add other ingredients into well, mix just until dry ingredients are moistened. Pour batter into 2 greased 9x5 inch loaf pans. Bake in preheated oven at 350 until toothpick inserted in center of loaves comes out clean, 50 min. Cool in pan on wire rack for 10 min. Loosen edges, turn loaf out onto rack to cool completely before slicing.

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