Organic Gardener’s Squash Soup a Prizewinner in Butter Recipe Contest

Written by: Josephine Bridges

Among the winners of the Dairy Farmers of Oregon Butter Up the Holidays

Butternut squash on porch bench

Organic gardener Richard Ellmyer makes prizewinning soup from butternut squash like these.

Contest is Richard Ellmyer, a Portland organic gardener, with Buttery Buttered Nut Squash Soup.

Entering the contest was, “a complete whim,” said Ellmyer,” I’ve never done anything like this before.” An organic gardener for decades, Ellmyer has a wealth of experience growing butternut squash, though, and making soup from the abundance on hand. “Butternut squash is my favorite vegetable. “Hardy, prolific, beautiful in form and color, it’ll last for a year and you can’t taste the difference. There’s nothing I don’t like about a butternut squash.”

“The only challenge was to incorporate butter,” said Ellmyer, who prior to entering the contest had made butternut squash soup using stock, peanut butter, and various flavorings. “I decided to use a stick of butter. That would get everybody’s attention. Now, how much squash?” A five-pounder the gardener happened to have “looked just right.” What else could he do to impress the Dairy Farmers of Oregon and still make a good-tasting soup? “Two cups of milk, then more butter, sauteed with walnuts and spices and mixed into the soup at the end.” The judges were clearly impressed.

Ellmyer makes a connection between growing organic food, eating well, and “developing interesting recipes based on the stuff you can grow.” Organic gardening is something Ellmyer and his wife “love to do, believe in, and have been successful at. It’s an essential part of what we do and who we are. The recipe was just fun. I’m very excited to win.”

If you would like to try the prizewinning recipe yourself, Ellmyer is happy to share.

Buttery Buttered Nut Squash Soup

Soup Ingredients

1 large butternut squash (about 5 lbs.), makes 5 cups

2 cups milk

1 stick butter (1/4 lb.)

Salt and pepper to taste

Topping Ingredients

1/2 stick butter

2 tbsp curry

1 1/2 cup walnuts

2 apples, diced

1 1/2 tsp brown sugar

1/2 tsp cinnamon

6 to 10 Servings


Cut squash in half lengthwise.

Put on baking sheet, cut side up.

Cook at 400 for about 1 hour or until very tender.

Peel and take out seeds when cooled.

Process squash in food processor in 2 batches, adding half the milk and 1/2 stick of butter in each batch. Process until very smooth (about 2 minutes).

Combine both batches.

Salt and pepper to taste.


Melt 1/2 stick of butter in a frying pan.

When melted add the walnuts and curry. Stir and cook for 2 minutes.

Add apples, stir and cook for 1 more minute.

Stir in brown sugar and cinnamon, cook for 1 more minute.

Be careful that butter does not burn. It will be browned a sticky, adhering to the crevices of the walnuts.

Reheat squash.

Scoop squash into small bowls.

Put a few spoonfuls of topping in each bowl.


Worst Company EVER: Biotech Giant Monsanto is Under Attack, Obama and the FDA are Under the Gun


CREDO Action - Dump Michael Taylor

Via CREDO Action website

By Allison Hibbs

Monsanto, the multinational agricultural biotechnology corporation long reviled by organic farmers, environmentalists and conscientious foodies worldwide, has drawn more than the usual amount of rancor in recent months. While assailants are hoping the media blitzkrieg will prove as damaging to the company as they claim that its bioengineering and genetic modification practices are to the planet, that hope may prove optimistic in light of its cozy relationship with the United States federal government. Efforts to diminish that relationship have led to the recent circulation of more than one petition calling for the dismissal of FDA Food Safety Czar, Michael Taylor, a former top Monsanto executive.

One reason for the recent outrage is a perceived “crusade” by the FDA against small raw milk dairy farmers, many of whom are Amish, even as they overlook repeated violations by larger, industrial producers. CREDO, a publication of Working Assets, began a campaign in late January to educate and motivate consumers to sign a pledge beseeching President Obama to expel Taylor from the administration.

"While factory farm operators are getting away with serious food safety violations, raw milk dairy farmers and distributors across the country have been subjected to armed raids and hauled away in handcuffs."

CREDO Action

CREDO believes that the FDA’s efforts would be better spent enforcing food safety regulations at the largest industrial producers, where it claims that “antibiotic resistance has run amuck,” rather than focusing so much of the administration’s efforts on sting operations to arrest small dairy farmers.

"Incredibly, Michael Taylor and FDA inspectors have not arrested or fined the Iowa agribusinessman -- Jack DeCoster -- who was wholly responsible for the more than 500 million eggs that were recalled in 2010 salmonella-tainted egg recall. 3Though this industrial agribusinessman endangered the health of millions, Michael Taylor thinks Amish farmers producing fresh milk are more deserving targets of his FDA enforcement raids with guns drawn."

CREDO Action


The petition had garnered 151,160 signatures as of SuperBowl Sunday, 75 percent of its 200,000 goal. Petition: Tell Obama to Cease FDA Ties to Monsanto

Another petition circulating on Twitter and Facebook had reached a total of 220,000 signatures by game time, far surpassing its original goal of 75,000. Written and circulated by Frederick Ravid, this petition includes a longer letter to the president, expressing opposition to the his administration’s appointment of Taylor three years ago.

“Taylor is the same person who as a high-ranking official at the FDA in the 1990s promoted allowing genetically modified organisms into the U.S. food supply without undergoing a single test to determine their safety or risks,” reads the letter. “This is a travesty.” Pointing out that Taylor was in charge of policy regarding the widely-opposed bovine growth hormone and that he fought against the requirement for disclosures on milk from cows that had been treated with the hormone, Ravid goes on to decry Monsanto as a company directly threatening the health and well-being of US citizens.

Reinforcing these concerns are WikiLeaks documents that surfaced last year implicating the Bush administration in questionable tactics used against countries in Europe to impel them to purchase Monsanto GMO products that they were resisting. Other documents imply that the US government considered putting pressure on the Pope to come out in favor of GMO foods. If any such actions were taken, they have proven largely unsuccessful and Monsanto has been repeatedly thwarted in France, Germany and the UK.


Additionally, lawsuits have been brought against the biotech giant by India and Canada for biopiracy and biocontamination, respectively; and a group of 270,000 American organic farmers are also suing the company for biocontamination. Ironically, the move is intended to protect these farmers against possible patent-infringement lawsuits brought by Monsanto over GMO seeds that have migrated to – and compromised – their lands.

For all of these reasons (and more), Monsanto has been voted Worst Company of 2011 by Natural Society, and the public seems increasingly to agree. As the acrimony grows, it is beginning to look like the corporation’s PR department has some serious damage control to do if it hopes to retain any influence over government activity.  It is, after all, an election year and Obama may not have the luxury of ignoring so many voters crying “Why, O, why?”