November 25, 2014

Roasted Squash Cornbread and Corn Harvest Day

Last month, while October was still in its full glory, something kind of magical and marvellous happened. We hosted our first corn harvest day at the farm, in part because in previous years, it took us days on end to pick and husk our field corn (in other words, we desperately needed some helping hands) but also because it was a great excuse to host an outdoor feast and gathering with family and friends.

I like to think of it as an early Thanksgiving-picnic of sorts.

Photo by Cindy Beams

For the occasion, I prepared several large pots of hearty chili made with our homegrown beans, some chewy chocolate chip cookies made with our own whole wheat flour, and copious amounts of golden cornbread made with the very corn that we were harvesting. 

Surrounded by the sounds of kids laughing, some heartfelt conversations with new and old friends, and the birds chirping their pre-winter songs, corn picking suddenly became way more appealing than when it was just two of us face to face with a field of corn that seemed to stretch on forever.

As they say, many hands make light work and by the end of the day, we had picked almost a quarter of the field. 

Photo by Cindy Beams

Photo by Cindy Beams
And while the idea of purchasing a mechanical corn picker had seemed so appealing in previous years (and in some ways still does - let's just say, the corn picking that took place in the days to follow was not nearly as warm and fuzzy as that first communal harvest day) seeing how much enjoyment everyone got out of picking and husking corn together, it suddenly made me sad to think that with a few quick passes of a machine, we would miss out on such a festive communal effort.

In days gone by, before farming became as large-scale and mechanized as it is today, corn husking bees were a much-anticipated yearly social event. Neighbours would gather to help one another pick and husk their corn, usually followed by a feast and a barn dance. It feels really good to at least partially revive a custom that has long been forgotten in many farming communities.

Photo by Cindy Beams

It also feels really good to grow organic, open-pollinated corn in an era when most of the cornmeal sold is made from GMO corn. Each time I husked a perfect, majestic ear of corn, there was a triumphant voice inside me that said "take THAT, Monsanto". We don't need your GMO seeds, we don't need your toxic pesticides. Corn can grow beautifully and productively in a soil that is well-nurtured and looked after.

The cornbread recipe you see me making in the above video is one that was shared with me by my dear friend Rebecca Sornson. I'll never forget the first time she made it. She brought it to a potluck we were going to and after dinner, there was literally a line-up of people waiting to talk to her, pen and paper in hand, ready to write down her recipe. It's now one of my go-to recipes and I think of her whenever I make it. It yields a moist and bright yellow cornbread. I've shared the recipe on my blogpost at PBS Food. Let me know if you make it, and to all my American friends, happy Thanksgiving!

For the Roasted Squash Cornbread recipe, go to this post on PBS Food.


  1. Hi there, just stopped by to let you know you've been featured today over at Carole's Chatter. Cheers

  2. Hi Aube, I love all your recipies, if I could I would make every single one! I made this cornbread for a gathering last night to accompany a slow-cooked moose shoulder and it was a hit. I used buttercup squash--my favorite. The color is amazing, texture is perfect--crumbly but moist--and I loved that it was not too sweet. Thanks for the beautiful video, your world is so enchanting : )

    1. Anna, thank you so much for your lovely note! I'm thrilled to hear you enjoyed the cornbread! Slow-cooked moose shoulder sounds divine, yum. Thanks for sharing :-)