Your Local Farmers' Market is Where the Beauties of Autumn Take Center Stage



Your Local Farmers' Market is Where the Beauties of Autumn Take Center Stage

As Summer Lingers Get Your Ears of Corn While They Last

By Mark Zuleger-Thyss


Autumn reminds us of a collection of things: Halloween, pumpkins, fall leaves, and the turning of weather toward winter. This is certainly what we expect in Wisconsin. For those who went to the University in Madison, WI ("The Springboard of the Midwest"), we made our way to the Farmers' Market on the Square - in our own time. Like a magnet, it pulls you in.

The Dane County Farmers' Market on the state Capital Square is the country's largest producer-only farmers' market. It is a Saturday-and-Wednesday tradition in Madison going back to 1972. The market's primary mission is to unite the urban with the rural cultures, and the energy of the young with the enthusiasm of the old. And it has always been a big success. Think of the word ‘conviviality’ and that’s what you’ll find at this market - and lots of fun, too!



It is interesting to me to view food through the lens of Ayurveda, and autumn is the perfect time to explore that focus. Madison is home to a flourishing community of Indian Americans — about 4,700 working adults (2017). But it's estimated the actual population is at least three times that number. As this immigrant group has grown, they found success and made significant contributions to Mad City’s cultural landscape.

The richness of Indian cuisine lies in its flavor, texture, ethnicity, and great taste. As the first leaves begin to turn, we wake up to colder and darker mornings, and pumpkins and other winter squash make bold appearances. Eating Ayurvedically leaves you feeling nourished and energized, and pumpkin in all its glorious forms will not disappoint.

Pumpkins are the quintessential symbol of fall in Wisconsin. One farm in Rice Lake, WI, Mommsen's Harvest Hills Pumpkin Patch & Apple Orchard, grows about 75 different varieties of pumpkins every season. In Wisconsin as a whole, there are 20 different varieties of pumpkins grown throughout the state, differentiated by shape, size, color, and flesh quality. We grow orange, white, and green pumpkins and every shade in between. You can even find knucklehead pumpkins, which are covered in warts!



According to Ayurveda, pumpkins are sweet, slightly cooling, and bitter. Ripe pumpkins can reduce Pitta energy and help balance Vata. Be wary of unripe pumpkins, as they can aggravate all three doshas and are hard to digest.

Pumpkin satisfies the stomach. Don't let rich pumpkin pie make you run for the hills, as it can be part of a diet supporting weight loss. Pumpkin's earthy quality and high fiber content leave you feeling full for a long time. It is light and dry in nature and balances Kapha dosha.

Lift a pumpkin, and it feels heavy and dense, making you think it will be rich and thick on your tongue. But when you eat it, it has a light, airy texture. Pumpkins are sweet and grounding, corresponding to the earth element, relieving dampness, and supporting digestive and respiratory health. They detoxify and help clean the bladder and surrounding organs.

Pumpkin's earthy quality causes a relaxant effect and makes it a comforting option in times of stress. The earth element pervades pumpkin, making it a grounding and nutritive ingredient. They have long been utilized as a natural sedative. A steaming bowl of pumpkin soup on a breezy fall day brings a sense of calm to relieve agitated thoughts. Traditionally, pumpkins were believed to sharpen the intellect and induce calmness. Therefore, they are used for a variety of mental imbalances and to reduce stress and agitation.

The best way to learn about Ayurveda and Indian culture is by eating the food. If you are planning a trip to Madison at any point, here are a few Indian restaurants to search out.

The 11 Best Indian Restaurants in Madison





© 2021 Mark Zuleger-Thyss, Garden of Healing. All rights reserved.