So far in this log, we’ve penned an Ode to Maize and an Ode to the Potato; two New World crops who changed the world and inspired poets.
It is time for for an Ode to the fairest of them all. The one who kindles deep, lasting love and has for 10,000 years. The beloved oldest of the Three Sisters… the Squash.
The ancestor plants of squash (the species including zuchinnis, melons, gourds, cucumbers, pumpkins and all other winter squash) were native to the New World and predate humans. It was love at first sight once we came around.
The earliest evidence for domestication dates back 10,000 years in Southern Mexico; earlier than the domestication of corn or beans.
Word travelled fast and inspiration abounded. By 2,000 B.C., squash had became a part of life for almost every Native culture from Southern Canada to Patagonia — varietals were kept and cherished for everything from the protein rich and medicinal seeds of some, to the sweet flesh and tough winter hardy skins of others. Botanists note at least six separate domestication events by Native peoples in the New World. (The English word “squash” comes from the Narragansett word, askutasquash, meaning fresh vegetable and similar words can be found in the related languages of the Algonquian language family.)
Here at GVC Farm the love affair burns bright. And we have access to an unparalleled modern day library of heirloom squash seeds. Last winter, farmer Kayta hunkered down with a seed catalogue, a good cup of coffee, a roaring fire, and her seed selecting genius, and laid out a season long love sonnet to the Squash. We felt the summer wind with a cool slice of Striped Armenian cucumber; We dined by candlelight over pasta with Costata Romanesca Zucchini; Once we tasted Sarah’s Choice Cantaloupe, we could never forget; But in the Winter, our true loves came -- the Winter Squashes.
- Delicata - A real heartbreaker. The sweetest. Easiest to cook, easiest to eat.
- Honey Bear Acorn - Personal size Acorn squash. Very sweet. Sweetest pet name.
- Jester Acorn - The sweetest Acorn squash we've ever tasted, and very creamy. David fell in love with it 3 years ago when Kayta first grew it on her farm for the Vineyard.
- Sunshine Kabocha - The village beauty. A gorgeous red Kabocha. Sweet and flaky. Kayta's favorite, exceptional for making "pumpkin" pie with.
- Butterscotch Baby Butternut - Mini Butternut. Unlike other Butternut squash, sweet and flavorful right after harvesting.
- Winter Luxury - Beautiful lacey netted pie pumpkin. Described in the seed catalog as both "gorgeous" and "superb for eating". We couldn't resist.
- Winter Sweet Gray-Green Kabocha: "Winter Sweet delivers a combination of sweetness, flaky texture, and depth of flavor that has made it a favorite on our research farm," says the Johnny's seed catalogue. "Unparalleled eating quality." Best after two months of curing. We are excited for this one.
- Jarrahdale Large - A 12-18 lb ribbed beauty with smooth, slate-green skin. These squash keep exceptionally well and make for months of decoration and then good eating.
- Racer Jack-O-Lantern Pumpkin: "Blocky, heavy, midsize pumpkin with a great-looking rib and big, dark green handle. Vigorous." We thought they made the perfect Jack-O pumpkins. The seeds were great too.
We hope you fall in love with a Squash this Fall.
See you in the fields,
David & Kayta
THIS WEEK'S HARVEST: Winter Luxury Pie Pumpkins, Delicata Squash, Bodega Red Potatoes, Cured Yellow Onions, Fennel, Broccoli & Cauliflower, Purple Cabbage, Watermelon Radishes, Bunched Beets, Celery Root, Rainbow Carrots, Broccoli Spigarello, Tatsoi, Rainbow Chard, Arugula, Braising Mix (with Ethiopian Mustard, Baby Kale, Bel Fiore Raddichio, and Frisée), Green Little Gems & Rouxai Oakleaf Head Lettuce, Painted Mountain Ornamental Corn
U-PICK in the GARDEN:
- In the Western Half (toward parking lot): Shishito and Black Hungarian Frying Peppers (probably the last week), Padrones & Jalapeños (probably the last week), Lemongrass, Lemonbalm, Lemon Verbena, Anise Hyssop, Sorrel, Thyme, Sage, Oregano, Onion Chives, Garlic Chives, Tarragon, French Culinary Lavender, Chocolate Mint, Julep Mint, and Peppermint
- In the Eastern Half (toward the vineyard): Basil (flowering, under the red flag), Italian Parsley (next to the basil, labeled with a stake)
GARLIC PLANTING PARTY & FALL HARVEST POTLUCK:
This Sunday we're going to be popping, planting, and mulching the garlic patch for 2018. Come out and join the fun! Afterwards, we'll gather in the barn to enjoy a Fall harvest inspired potluck.
- When: Sunday, November 5th, Garlic Planting at 2:00 pm, Potluck at 5:30pm
- Where: Out in the main fields next to the raspberries
- What now? A party wherein we plant 2018's garlic and then EAT!
- What-to-bring: Clothes you don't mind getting dirty/muddy. Waterbottle, sunhat (or raingear), and a dish inspired by the Fall harvest season
PAINTED MOUNTAIN CORN SEED SAVING CHALLENGE:
This week we'll set out ears of Painted Mountain Corn for you to adorn your homes with. Keep them as ornaments forever! Or... once you take them down for the year, store them in a cool, dry, dark place -- away from Ralph the Mouse. If you're a part of the CSA next year, we'll issue a call for the ears in the Spring and plant the kernels, saving seed and developing a Green Valley Community Farm heirloom together as a community.
Join Green Valley Farm + Mill for Farm Cycle, a fundraiser for Sonoma County farms affected by the fires. All proceeds from the day will go to help support fire relief for food farms and farm workers in Sonoma County via CAFF and Undocufund.
The day includes a bike ride (optional), a feast, fundraising, speakers, and music.