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How to make the most of the harvest season's bounty

Chef Galit Korngold, owner of Wild Gal’s Market, at the sixth-annual Heritage Festival that took place in Nucla Town Park on October 8.
Gavin McGough
Chef Galit Korngold, owner of Wild Gal’s Market, at the sixth-annual Heritage Festival that took place in Nucla Town Park on October 8.

It’s harvest season, and as frost is coming to our part of the world, farms are putting out their bounties in a great final push.

What should we be cooking with all the good food coming to market before the winter hiatus?

Gavin McGough sat down with Galit Korngold at the Nucla Heritage Festival to talk about what’s in season, and what we should be cooking at this delicious moment.

“Right now all the nightshades are coming in hot, so the tomatoes, the peppers. We just finished corn season, melons are still going off. It’s chile season and we can get them roasted or fresh. Potatoes, onions, all the root crops are coming in hot, winter squashes, all the different varieties, and pumpkins,” said Korngold.

Korngold is the proprietor of Wild Gal’s Market, which she has run for the past two years out of a sunny little storefront on Nucla's main drag.

As the bluegrass band begins to play on the Nucla town stage, Korngold says cooking is connected to her true calling in life.

“I was actually a graphic designer professionally for the last thirty years before I became a store owner and a cook. I consider myself a Jewish mother, I love to feed. It’s my thing. The biggest pleasure I get is seeing people enjoy my food.” said Korngold. 

Between the diverse landscapes of high mountain peaks and drought stricken desert, the local food scene of the Western Slope can be hard to navigate.

But when Korngold opened her store, she started by building a network of food producers across the region.

“I started making my own connections, traveling all around this area every week to go hit the farms and find the good stuff and the best deals and the freshest,” she said.

“So right now we’re getting food from farmers in Norwood, from Olathe, from Montrose, from Grand Junction, Palisade, and (from) Dominguez Canyon between Delta and Grand Junction. I’ve built some really nice relationships with these farmers and it’s one of the best parts of my week.”

If you’ve stopped by a farmers market lately, chances are you walked away overburdened with veggies.

When asked what to make with the season’s bounty, Korngold says to aim for big hearty pots of things to use up all the fresh produce.

“It’s definitely soup season so that’s what we do,” she said.

“We make soups with whatever’s in season and whatever we have way too much of, because I get very excited when I buy produce and I tend to get excited and buy too much. So we make butternut soup, and we make ratatouille, peppers, eggplant, tomato, onions, zucchini stewed together, all that good stuff. What else? We’re gonna make chicken soup, kale and sausage soup, all those kinds of things. ‘Tis the season for that.”

When cooking, Korngold also draws inspiration from her heritage.

“Israeli is really the major part of my background. So for my store we make Israeli salad which is a chopped tomato-cucumber-onion salad. We make houmous every week and it's the best houmous this side of the Rockies. We make tzatziki, that’s Greek. We make Moroccan stuff like salade cuite which literally translates to cooked salad, and it's tomatoes and peppers and tons of garlic cooked low and slow until it’s thick, thick and you eat it with bread. We’re feeders, we’re lucky we landed in a community of eaters,” said Korngold. 

Korngold says cooking for her community is the best part of her week.

The spirit of Wild Gal’s is to get creative and let loose in the kitchen.

With whatever bounty you have, Korngold says cooking, at long last, is about a feeling of togetherness.

“It’s an art form, and it's a show of love. It's a love language and an art form,” she says.

Surrounded by apples, pears and baked goods galore at the Nucla Town Park, it’s the perfect time to celebrate, and afterwards, head home towards the warmth and promise of the kitchen stove.

This story from KOTO was shared with Aspen Public Radio via Rocky Mountain Community Radio, a network of public media stations in Colorado, Wyoming, Utah and New Mexico including Aspen Public Radio.

Copyright 2022 Aspen Public Radio . To see more, visit Aspen Public Radio .

Gavin McGough