Northeast Seed Conservancy

Bryan Connolly



Heirloom Squash

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:

Bryan Connolly

(860) 423-8305

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.