Savoring the Seasons: Pumpkin Fries! Ginger Plum Tart!

The Recorder, October 13, 2015 by Mary McClintock

I’m always thrilled when readers send me recipes or chat with me about my column. Recently, I’ve had many lovely encounters, including visits with Jay Lord at the Greenfield Farmers Market, where he’s promoting Just Roots’ Just Soup and their Just Soup CSA. He’ll be at the market until Oct. 31, which is the last day of this season’s market. Sign-up for the six-month Just Soup CSA until Nov. 1 at

Talking with a friend about the Soup CSA, I said I make a lot of my own soup. My friend laughed and said, “Me, too. But if the Soup Fairy puts soup in my freezer, great!”

Just Soup is made at the Franklin County CDC’s Western Mass Food Processing Center, next to where I work in Franklin County Community Meals Program’s new office in the CDC’s Venture Center. Last week, Judy Scherer from the CDC appeared at the meal program’s office door and said, “Would you like some plum tart I made for Rebecca’s birthday?” (PVGrows Fund Coordinator Rebecca Busansky’s office is next door) Wow, was that a tasty tart!

Later, Norm Hirschfeld wrote with variations on apple cake (he added plums and raspberries) and Susan McCaffrey sent variations on peach cobbler (reducing the sugar).

And, Donna Scott from Ashfield emailed a “pumpkin fries” recipe! I told Donna I was going to peel apples at a “Pie Bee” to make pies for the Ashfield Fall Festival to raise money for the South Ashfield Library. Donna’s from Scott’s Orchard and they supply apples for the pie bee. I had great fun peeling MANY apples and chatting with Paul Monohon, Christina Gabriel, and other Ashfield folks.
Last spring, I heard a Just Roots presentation about their Snack Markets in Greenfield schools. I think it was Andy Grant who said, “It’s a choice, do you want a squash or a carrot? Really, what you get is community.”

Sharing recipe modifications, Soup Fairies, making MANY pies with neighbors, sharing homemade treats with officemates … Really, what we get is community.

Pumpkin Fries

By Donna Scott, Ashfield

There are different variations, but basically you cut the pie pumpkin, de-skin the pieces and take out the seeds, then prepare as you would for potato fries. One variation is to use olive oil and salt and coat the fries before baking and another is to use pumpkin spice and sugar. I throw them in the oven at around 400 degrees and keep “taste-testing” fries until they are done. (At least that’s my excuse for eating a lot of them !) But be forewarned! The sweet & salty taste can be addicting! Pie pumpkins have thinner skin and a finer texture meat than regular pumpkins.

Gluten-Free Ginger Plum Tart

By Judy Scherer (adapted from gluten-free-ginger-plum-tart/)


2 ½ C. almond meal
5 T. coconut oil/unsalted butter, melted

2 T. granulated sugar

1 egg white

pinch sea salt


4 C. pitted/sliced plums

5 T. corn starch

2⁄3 C. granulated sugar

pinch sea salt

3 T. grated ginger

Juice ½ lemon

1 T. cold unsalted butter

Preheat oven to 400 degrees Add crust ingredients to medium mixing bowl. Mix until all ingredients are moist. Pour crust mixture into tart pan. Press into one even layer over bottom and sides of tart pan using your hands. In separate medium mixing bowl, mix together plums, corn starch, sugar, salt, lemon, and ginger. Pour fruit filling over crust. Arrange in one even layer. Dot top of fruit with cold butter. Bake tart for 30 to 40 minutes until crust is deeply golden. Check during last 10 minutes to make sure top edges do not burn. Cool completely before slicing.

(Judy’s modifications: I used coconut oil instead of butter and crystallized ginger (smooshed in food processer into paste with other filling ingredients except plums) instead of sugar and fresh ginger — less sweet but Clarkdale’s plums were very sweet and juicy. There’s a reason “plum” and “yum” rhyme!)