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Summer squash goes straight from the farm into the frying pan
Seasonal produce is ready to boil, bake or saute
Sauteed squash with leeks is ready to eat.

FARM FRESH: This is the first in a series of stories about local growers who provide Hall County with fresh produce and their own recipes.

For squash recipes, click here.

Questions are common at farmers markets.

Customers ask farmers about what a particular item is, how it’s grown, where it’s grown and what it tastes like. They also want to know what to do with it when they take it home.

Cedar Hollow Farm in Cleveland has a solution. They offer recipe cards centered around the seasonal produce they sell.

“In the last 20 years I’d say, we’ve seen people go from cooking to not cooking as much,” said Glen Cook, owner of Cedar Hollow Farm. “And now people are back interested again. There’s a pretty good segment of folks who really don’t have a lot of ideas about how to use fresh produce out of the garden.”

The country’s next generation of eaters is all about homemade breakfast, crunchy greens and savory snacks.

It’s not just about Millennials anymore. Gen Z is on its heels, adopting the same food preferences to an even greater degree.

Fresh food consumption is forecast to increase more than 11 percent with this next generation of young adults in the next five years, according to a new report out from consumer research company NPD Group called the Future of Eating.

Gen Y and Gen Z don’t mind spending more time in the kitchen prepping meals with fresh ingredients. That means they’re whipping up more meals like omelets and pancakes over cereal. On the outs are pre-prepared and microwaveable meals.

Farmers markets provide locally grown, fresh produce and often offer a greater variety of vegetables and fruits than usually found in the grocery aisle.

Sometimes familiar items, such as squash, can seem intimidating to a novice cook when using a less common variety like the pattypan squash. Pattypan squash tastes similar to the yellow squash variety found on store shelves but has a distinct round shape with scalloped edges.

According to Fruit and Veggies More Matters, an organization aimed at increasing consumption of fruits and vegetables for health, the varieties of summer squash are high in vitamin C, low in calories and have no fat, sodium or cholesterol.

At least two recipes at Cook’s booth at area farmers markets use pattypan squash and yellow squash. Cook said the recipes are from customers and magazines, but he tries them out first.

“We try each recipe, ask customers for their favorite recipes, cook it (and then) try it,” Cook said. “And if we feel like it’s something we want to offer, we’ll go ahead and do that.”

Cedar Hollow Farm sells produce at the Clermont Farmers Market on Saturday and the Downtown Gainesville Market on the Square on Friday.

Cook said the family farm is currently cultivating about 7 acres and have a variety of produce growing including sweet corn, tomatoes, peppers, eggplants, green beans, lettuce, onions, leeks, potatoes, broccoli, cabbage, melons and squash.

“It’s all over the place,” Cook said, chucking. “I really enjoy growing all of it. That’s really why I do what I do. It’s fun to watch plants grow and produce and bring on something that people can use and enjoy.”

USA Today contributed to this report.

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