When it comes to culi­nary charisma or dec­o­ra­tive charm, not all pump­kins are cre­ated equal.

A trip to a local pump­kin patch will excite even the most senior pumpkin-​picker-​outers.

Heir­loom vari­eties of this win­ter squash give every­one rea­son to find a new fall favorite.

Orange is def­i­nitely not the only color in the box, though var­i­ous shades of orange run the full spec­trum. Unusual mark­ings and tex­tures, enchant­ing names and inter­est­ing shapes open pump­kin pos­si­bil­i­ties for cre­ative décor and dis­plays.

Old school vari­etals break the mold on tra­di­tional orange orbs. Cool col­ors like salmon, white, blue, gray and green bring much more inter­est to the field. Bumps, stripes, streaks and warts give curios­ity a sat­is­fac­tory platform.

Read more: Kin Folk →

Giv­ing back is good. We believe in local farm­ing and we believe that sup­port­ing grow­ers in our com­mu­ni­ties is the best way to ensure a future for food.

Cul­ti­vat­ing Change, the Greener Fields Together local farm grant pro­gram, aims to fund projects that will help local farm­ers do what they’re best at, farming.

Grant amounts up to $30,000 will be funded on an annual basis to qual­i­fy­ing grow­ers through an online vot­ing plat­form and peer review panel.

Cul­ti­vat­ing Change grants are open to all local farm­ers and aggre­ga­tors where pro­duce pro­duc­tion or aggre­ga­tion makes up at least fifty per­cent of their busi­ness. All appli­cants will be eli­gi­ble to par­tic­i­pate in the pop­u­lar vote por­tion of the con­test and only Greener Fields Together local farms will be eli­gi­ble to win by panel review.

All appli­cants must use grant money for the pur­pose spec­i­fied on their appli­ca­tion, share project results, and if selected, agree to the usage of their name and like­ness in mar­ket­ing and pub­lic rela­tions collateral.

Read more: Cul­ti­vat­ing Change →

Tail­gat­ing Sea­son is well under­way. This great Amer­i­can tra­di­tion has moved to higher ground where food and sports take the field together.

Sim­pler times called for pedes­trian sand­wiches, potato chips and cold drinks tossed into a tote bag. Move over Rover.

Tail­gat­ing has become a lively, con­vivial event with a life of its own. This portable party binds game day good eats with an oppor­tu­nity for social­iz­ing with friends and other fans.

The menu may be a bit more high art than high brow. Bring the gear and appetites for a day long feast. Game day? We’ve got you covered.

Sips & Drinks: Go with cool quenchers for those Indian Sum­mer days to hot tod­dies for chill­ier ones around the cor­ner. Fresh cut mel­ons, cel­ery, cucum­bers and cit­rus deliver for bev­er­age gar­nishes. Dress up apple cider with spices, pear slices or even cran­ber­ries. Cheers to fresh lemon­grass or rose­mary skew­ers adding more drama to cock­tail bars.

Read more: Game On! →

A few crisp days strung together and sweat­shirts get pulled out of the closet. So too, do the recipes we love that cel­e­brate fall.

Ingre­di­ents begin to shift and the land­scape changes in the mar­ket­place. There is more to autumn days than pump­kin spice and pump­kin lattes.

Apples and pears are now being har­vested. It seems impos­si­ble, but true, new vari­eties seem to appear each year. Ver­sa­til­ity finds them a role in starters, sal­ads, entrees and desserts. Savory to sweet, scout out a fall favorite to switch up main menu plan­ning and lunchtime snacks.

Tex­ture and taste give apples and pears the green light for pair­ing with cheeses, nuts, fresh greens and other part­ners. Both fruits com­pli­ment meat dishes and offer veg­e­tar­ian swaps in grain, pasta and rice prepa­ra­tions.

Figs, pome­gran­ates and per­sim­mons are sig­na­ture fruits that fol­low apples and pears . They like that lit­tle cold snap that fol­lows hot weather. Cran­ber­ries will make an appear­ance by the end Sep­tem­ber. Once they debut, kiss sum­mer goodbye.

Read more: Beyond Pump­kin Spice →

Anthony Bourdain’s indeli­ble mark is as large as the void cre­ated by his absence. Three months after his unex­pected death, the food world still mourns.

Shar­ing meals has the abil­ity to bring peo­ple closer together. Anthony’s tal­ent was in show­cas­ing cul­tural diver­sity with­out judg­ment.

It may be impos­si­ble to quite fill the hal­lowed ground trav­elled by “Parts Unknown”, the CNN series that took us across the nation and around the world. The human con­di­tion was com­monly explored in every episode.

Pol­i­tics and cui­sine fre­quently inter­sect. There are any num­ber of issues related to food that push farm­ers, restau­rants, retail­ers and con­sumers to higher ground and social advo­cacy.

Sus­tain­abil­ity through grow­ing prac­tices, water usage, land preser­va­tion, labor prac­tices, immi­gra­tion pol­icy and food safety all impact our food sys­tem. Being informed on all such mat­ters is the tough part.

Sto­ry­telling is dif­fer­ent from relay­ing mere facts and fig­ures. The why and how of some­thing being done car­ries an under­stand­ing of prac­tice. Ask­ing ques­tions and wait­ing for the answers is a way to cul­ti­vate more than a script.

Read more: Parts Unknown →

Zuc­chini is deli­cious on its own. Sim­ply grill and serve as a side with a driz­zle of olive oil. Add a shake or two of salt and pep­per. Zuc­chini per­fec­tion.

That’s one rea­son­able way to approach this pro­lific sum­mer veg­etable when we have only a cou­ple of these lit­tle green ras­cals to con­tem­plate.

Since the beloved squash is so com­pat­i­ble with other fresh pro­duce items (toma­toes, egg­plant, mush­rooms, etc.) we’ve learned to marry it in dishes like rata­touille, frit­tatas and soups.

The case for Ital­ian squash abun­dance needs con­sid­er­a­tion. Between home gar­dens, farm­ers mar­kets and local farm pro­duc­tion, the mar­ket gets sat­u­rated with late sum­mer zuc­chini.

Good then that inven­tive­ness is hard at work on the zuc­chini project. A bumper squash crop inspires swap outs in dishes that typ­i­cally call for higher carb ingre­di­ents like pasta, rice, tor­tillas and breads.

Read more: Zuc­chini Project →