Celebrate Squash!

Last week my family and I went to EcoFarm at Asilomar State Park in Pacifac Grove CA. EcoFarm is a conference where farmers, gardeners, activists, chefs and foodies come together to celebrate organic food and farming and to share new ideas on how to feed ourselves sustainably!

At EcoFarm,  OSA (Organic Seed Alliance) hosted a seed to eater discussion and had a Winter squash taste test that really inspired me!! My mom Rowen at Sierra Seeds was a presenter.  We tasted 3 different varieties of squash, that all had unique characteristics.  

Let’s learn a little bit about squash!!

Did you know that squash comes in 4 different commonly grown species?

Cucurbita, Maxima: Common varieties of this species are Hubbard, Kabocha, Buttercup and Kuri. “Cucurbita maxima was most likely domesticated from a wild squash in what is now known as Bolivia and Argentina. It was being cultivated along the coast of of Peru by 2000 BCE. It is widely cultivated in Australia, where it arrived almost four thousand years later, sometime after 1788, along with British settlers.” (The Seed Garden page 219)

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Cucurbita maxima

Cucurbita, Pepo: Common varieties of this species are Crookneck, Patty Pan, Spaghetti, Delicata and Acorn. “Cucurbita pepo is one of the first species that humans are known to have domesticated. Seeds from 10,000-year-old squash have been found in settlement sites in Oaxaca, Mexico. Cucurbita pepo spread throughout the Americas, and owing to the versatility of the species and its suitability to a range of climates, it became one ofthe most important agricultural crops in the New Word.” (The Seed Garden page 220)

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Cucurbita pepo

Cucurbita, Moschata: Common varieties of this species are Butternut, Cheese Pumpkins and Orange Cushaw Squash. “Cucurbita moschata was most likely domesticated from a wild squash in the humid lowlands of northern South America. The earliest evidence of this species in human settlements places it in southern Mexico at around 4900 BCE. Over the centuries, the rich flesh of Cucurbita moschata has provided a flavorful, storable source of carbohydrates, vitamins and beta-carotene. A quick glance at some cultivar names, such as ‘Muskee de Provence’, ‘Virginia Mammoth’, and ‘Futtsu’, point to its cultivation in France, the United States, and Japan.” (The Seed Garden page 220)

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Cucurbita moschata

Cucurbita Argyrosperma: Common varieties of this species are Silver-Seeded Gourds. “Cucurbita argyrosperma has been connected to humans since 3100 BCE. Genetic studies suggest that the species was domesticated in southern Mexico-possibly along with maize, in the central Balas River valley.” (The Seed Garden page 219)

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Cucurbita argyrosperma

On our farm we love to grow a lot of different types of squash because each species has its own unique flavor and texture!! Next week I will be posting a recipe for Winter Squash Raviolis With  Brown Butter and Sage Sauce on the Recipe page!!

 

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Check out this Winter Squash Visual Guide

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