Week 16: On squash longevity

Contrary to popular belief (of some), winter squash does not grow in the winter, ready to be picked and eaten at will. Rather, the plants grow just the same as other squash:  in the heat of the summer. It's the fruits that persist into the winter. Summer squash (like zucchini) is an immature squash, with minimal seed development and tender flesh. Winter squash, on the other hand, is completely mature, with viable seeds and a hard rind to protect them. We're lucky if a zucchini plant stays alive for a month after beginning to produce fruit, but winter squash has to stick it out for a full 100 days. We sow the seeds mid-June and, while the tomatoes arrive, the peppers inundate us, the eggplant surprises us, the squash just grows. We work every day with those other crops, and the butternut squash--well, all we do is watch it. Finally when all those summer vegetables wane with the coming of autumn, it is time to clip and gather the winter squash. Then they cure in a warm place for two weeks to turn starches to sugars, and now, finally, arrive in your shares this week.