Shea Squires, age seven, has his own table to sell little pumpkins at Saratoga Farmers’ Market, as part of Butternut Ridge Farm’s extensive display of vegetables, fruit, and fall decorative favorites. Shea and his sister, eleven-year-old Kiana, are the fourth generation to farm the family’s land in Argyle (Washington County).
The children’s grandparents, Debbie and Glenn Stevens, are the farm’s current owners. Glenn grew up on the farm, which was started by his parents, Helen and Bill Stevens.
“Bill was an agricultural instructor at BOCES for many years, and the farm grew from there,” says Debbie Stevens. “We’ve expanded a lot since Glenn and I took it over in the early 1990s.”
Butternut Ridge has always been a vegetable farm, and sells primarily through farmers’ markets, including all three outdoor locations run by the Saratoga Farmers’ Market Association: Malta, Clifton Park, and Saratoga Springs. The farm also has a roadside stand on Route 40 in South Argyle.
“We farm about 50 acres, and Glenn’s father still helps around the farm with various activities, even at age 86. He’s been busy recently bundling decorative corn for sale at the market,” says Debbie Stevens.
Three large greenhouses on the farm give a strong start to vegetable plants, herbs, and garden plants in the spring. Butternut Ridge is known for its bedding plants, perennials, and hanging baskets, giving local gardeners an early advantage that yields beautiful blooming plants in their gardens. Vegetables come on strong at the farm in the summer and fall, with colorful mums, pumpkins, and gourds also in season at this time of year.
“This 35th anniversary year of the Saratoga Farmers’ Market is a milestone for our family, as well, since Glenn’s parents were among the founders of this market,” says Debbie.
Miranda Squires, daughter of Debbie and Glenn Stevens, likes to bring her children to the market when she is working, and have them help in setting up the farm’s display. Judging from young Shea’s pumpkin table and the hard work he does with his sister, the youngest generation in this family of farmers is already off to a strong start.
Stuffed Bell Peppers
6 bell peppers (any color is fine)
1 cup cooked rice (1/3 cup uncooked)
1 pound ground meat (beef, pork, poultry)
1 cup chopped onion
2 cloves minced garlic
1/4 cup chopped parsley
1/4 cup grated cheese (Cheddar, Parmesan or other)
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
salt and pepper
2 cups tomato or pasta sauce
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Cook rice (or use leftover rice).
Wash peppers, cut off tops, and remove stem and seeds. The edible parts of the peppers that you trim off can be finely diced and added to the stuffing.
Bring pot of water to a boil and drop in the prepared peppers, parboiling them for a few minutes until somewhat softened. Remove from water, drain, and set aside to cool.
Brown meat with onion and garlic until meat is cooked.
Prepare stuffing by mixing together rice, meat mixture, parsley, cheese, and basil in a medium bowl.
Put some tomato sauce in a small baking dish so the bottom is lightly covered. Stuff peppers with rice-meat mixture and set in baking dish.
Cover peppers with rest of sauce and cover dish with foil. Bake covered in oven for about 20 minutes, and then uncovered for an additional 10 minutes.