Many heirloom squash are on the brink of genetic extinction.
Each heirloom squash variety carries a unique history, novel genetic
make-up, and often superior flavor and beauty all its own. The
mission of the Cucurbit Conservancy is to restore populations
of rare heirloom squash, evaluate varieties for flavor and breeding
needs, and eventually assist farmers in growing commercial amounts
of seed and produce.
There will be three participatory levels of the conservancy.
1. Squash Stewards - will conduct squash tastings,
surveys and field evaluations to identify critically threatened
squash that are in urgent need of restoration. A core group of
farmers-seed stewards will be provided with the seed and guidance
to grow-out the seed of the threatened varieties. When sufficient
seed is produced, it will be made available to a larger circle
of growers to produce seed commercially.
2. Squash Soires - When a rare squash seed stock
is safe, or lesser known but secure variety has been brought to
the attention of the Conservancy, such as Seminole, we will hold
Squash Soires so a community may come together to celebrate and
appreciate their wonderful flavors. The Soires will be an opportunity
for farmers, chefs, consumers, and produce-purchasers to work
together to restore a squash variety.
3. Squash Partnerships - The Conservancy will
help coordinate farmer-to-chef and farmer-to-market partnerships
for an economically viable market-based strategy to restore our
heirloom treasures, helping to ensure that our heirloom squashes
will preserved for future generations.
For more information on
The Northeast Seed Conservancy please contact:
Winter Squash Varieties for 2006 Stewardship
Squash tasters at the last Restoring Our Seed Conference
identified these rare varieties as having superior flavor.
Courge Longue de Nice- A variety from the South of
France. Valued for both its immature fruits, 'courgettes' and
as a mature winter squash. When mature its flesh is an outrageous
salmon color. Insect and disease resistant.
Marina di Chioggia- An incredibly interesting warty
green turban squash. Well known in Italy where it is used to make
a fine gnocchi, but little grown in the United States.
North Georgia Candy Roaster-Candy Roaster is an Appalachian
term for any large squash, usually a â¤maximaâ¤?
type. This strain came to Glenn Drowns of Sand Hill Preservation
from a seed saver in Georgia in 1985 and was brought to our attention
by photographer David Cavagnaro. A very beautiful pink banana
squash with a delicate up turned blue end. Excellent eating quality,
with a light sweet squash flavor.
Seminole- a bell shaped butternut type originally cultivated
by the Seminole Indians of the Everglades. This variety has delicious
dark orange flesh of higher quality than the common Waltham Butternut.
Insect and disease resistant.
Thelma Sanders-An heirloom beige acorn squash. Originally
from a woman named Thelma Sanders in Adair County, Missouri. One
of the best acorn types.