There is no doubting that winter squash is one of Michigan’s favorite fall produce vegetables, and if thought through properly, you can enjoy it for many months after harvest. Squashes, such as acorn; butternut; spaghetti; buttercup; hubbard; dumpling; pie pumpkins; and even regular, large pumpkins, are generally harvested at the very end of summer or early fall. They are then cured to further harden the skin and stored in a cool, dry place. This process will generally keep squash from spoiling for up to two months after initial harvest.
Now, if you would like to enjoy Michigan winter squashes for longer than two months, I advise you to stock up and freeze as much as possible no later than the middle of November. Typically, all Michigan squash is sold through by this time, although this may vary by a week or two either way, depending on each season’s crop. If freezing squash is something you plan on doing, I would suggest cutting or chunking it into cubes, whichever variety you desire.
Picking out Winter Squash
Selecting the perfect squash, unlike other fruits and vegetables, is not all that difficult. The common denominator with all winter squashes is firmness. Be sure that all surface areas are solid and firm. Otherwise, you might end up with mealy or very stringy squash that will not be what you want.
Another advantage of Michigan-grown winter squash is the price. If you have the room to stock up, the price will not be lower the rest of the year than it is October through November.
We have many recipes on our website to help you enjoy winter squashes the Nino’s way. Take a look at our squash guide for some of our favorites.
The weather is finally starting to change, and it’s time to enjoy some of Michigan’s best treasures. Fresh Michigan apples and fresh-squeezed apple cider are among those things we associate with fall. There is no better place to enjoy the Michigan apple season than with us at Nino Salvaggio’s. We have over 30 varieties of fresh apples to choose from, and you can rest assured that they are as sweet as they are plentiful.
After the worst apple crop since 1944, this season is due to yield a record number of apples here in Michigan. I have visited a few of our local orchards and witnessed many uprooted trees and snapped branches due to the excessive amount of apples on some trees. This year is in line to become the best-yielding crop of Michigan apples on record. That said, we look forward to partnering up with our local growers to provide the best possible deals to our customers, so we can all take advantage of what is supposed to be an excellent apple crop season.
Fresh Apple Cider
Obviously, with the apple crop in plentiful supply, fresh-squeezed apple cider isn’t hard to find. In recent years and again this year, we teamed up with Blake’s Farms and Hy’s Cider Orchard for fresh cider. These farmers have been a staple at our Nino’s stores for many years, and we are glad to continue this relationship. We are in our third week of production, so you can be sure the cider is as sweet as you can imagine.
By the last week of September, you will see that the outside of our stores has transformed into a farm market paradise. Whether it is corn stalks and hay bales or pumpkins and gourds, everything you need to transform your own home into a farm-like atmosphere is here at Nino’s. This is also the time to stock up on all those healthy winter squashes, such as acorn, butternut, spaghetti, hubbard, buttercup, dumpling and many more.
If you don’t have the time to make it all the way out to the overcrowded cider mills, but would like to enjoy the spoils they offer, please stop by your nearest Nino’s and come enjoy the local (farm) market.
All Good Things Come to an End
As we bid farewell to our summer season, we must also come to grips with the fact that some of our favorite summer fruits and vegetables will soon reach their end. By now, you will have noticed that those beautiful cherry displays that used to welcome you as you walked into our stores are no more. They have been replaced by new-crop Washington Bartlett pears, and very soon, mountains of Michigan Apples and Michigan fresh apple cider will greet you and do their best to welcome you into our stores. We are also in our final weeks of fresh nectarines and peaches, so if these are some of your favorites, don’t hesitate. They can be gone at a moment’s notice. We should, however, maintain a steady supply of Michigan vegetables through the month of September and maybe even into October. Michigan corn, tomatoes, green beans, eggplant, Swiss chard, beets, parsley, and cabbage should be readily available during this time.
New Season Equals New Opportunity
Although it’s almost time to say goodbye to some of our favorite seasonal fruits, it is also time to welcome in new fruits that are sure to excite all of us and help us fill the void left by our departing favorites. I can think of no more anticipated or demanded fall fruit than the now famous Honeycrisp apple. The Honeycrisp apple has taken the industry by storm and is still one of the most in-demand fruits of the year. Our first arrivals are usually in the second week of September and come from Washington state first; later they come from Michigan.
With the entire Michigan apple crop almost totally wiped out last year, we should have a great crop this year. Typically, apple trees will overproduce following years with no fruit production. So even though demand is extremely high for Honeycrisp, we are hearing that costs should be slightly reduced this year. As we travel into my favorite Michigan season, stay on the lookout for the changes we are making here at Nino’s. And be sure to take advantage of all of our seasonal opportunities.