Eat Local: Buternut Squash From Brownstone Brooklyn

(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

Eat local. We hear the challenge, but here in the land of skyscrapers and all night diners, there isn’t much food growing inside the New York City limits. For example, the apples I buy at the farmer’s market come from Treelicious in Port Murray, NJ, 62.5 miles from Brooklyn. That’s not super local, but I thought it was about as close as we could get.

But look what I found on my block in Prospect Heights, Brooklyn on Saturday! I met my neighboor Diane. She was selling home-grown butternut squash and gourds, tucked between the pink Steve Madden pumps and out-grown toddler clothes, at her stoop sale. She said that people walking by were “fascinated like children” that food could grow in Brooklyn backyards.

Diane told me that she didn’t deliberately set out to grow the squash in her brownstone garden. She’d dumped the seeds from a FreshDirect butternut into her compost pile. The seeds grew from there, so she stuck with it and allowed the squash to join her vegetable patch. She said the squash did well in her sunny garden, despite the extreme heat that hurt pumpkin farmers.

While squash grown on the block you call home is a novelty, it has me thinking more about eating local. Here’s ten tips. How local can we eat?

And does anyone have a special butternut squash recipe I can try? I’m looking for something special since this might be the only time I get to eat squash from the block.