The Montana Harvest of the Month program was launched in 2016 in K-12 schools as a way to connect local producers to schools by educating students, staff and food service members on the importance of buying fresh and local food.  HOM showcases a seasonal Montanan grown food each month (currently lentils, carrots, squash, beets, kale, leafy greens, beef, and wheat) in schools and communities. Participating sites are provided with educational resources including recipes, nutrition facts, buying tips and learning activities based upon one featured produce item each month.

NCAT received funding through the USDA Montana Specialty Crop Block Grant to expand Harvest of the Month the broader community.   Thanks to this grant, the Montana HOM item will ’served in a variety of settings including schools, hospitals, universities/ colleges, preschools, and grocery stores. The Harvest of the Month program has already shown a significant economic benefit for Montana by opening up the institutional marketplace for Montana farmers and ranchers. Over time we hope this will create more resilient, healthy communities.

 

Celebrate Local Summer Squash by preparing this easy and delicious recipe:

Garden Stuffed Summer Squash

Whip up a serving of tomato-pepper-bacon stuffed squash for a tasty summer treat.

  • Makes: 6 servings
  • Nutrition Highlights: Summer squash is stuffed with even more nutrient-rich veggies. Bell peppers are filled with fiber, antioxidants and vitamin C. Tomatoes are an excellent source of vitamins A, C, and K, plus lycopene, potassium and fiber

Ingredients

  • 6 medium yellow summer squash (crookneck or straightneck varieties; adjust baking time slightly if using pattypan squash)
  • ½ cup green bell pepper, diced
  • 1 cup onion, finely chopped
  • 1 cup tomatoes, chopped and seeded
  • ½ cup sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
  • ½ cup Italian bread crumbs
  • 4 slices bacon, fried until crisp and crumbled*
  • pinch seasoned salt
  • ⅔ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ground black pepper
  • butter (for sautéing)

*Simply omit the bacon for a vegetarian version of this recipe.

Instructions

  1. In large pot, cover squash with water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer until squash are tender but firm, about 8 minutes. Drain squash and cool slightly. Trim stems and cut squash in half lengthwise. Remove pulp, then chop it into small pieces. Reserve squash shells.
  2. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Melt butter in a skillet over medium heat, and saute bell pepper and onion in butter until soft. In a separate pan, saute squash pulp (about 1 cup) until soft. Combine squash pulp with onions, peppers, tomatoes, cheese, bread crumbs, bacon and seasoned salt.
  3. Place hollowed squash shells in a baking dish, and sprinkle the inside of each with kosher salt and pepper. Spoon squash mixture into each shell. Top with additional bread crumbs and drizzle top with melted butter. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes until top is golden.