I think my favorite crop this year has been the butternut squash. Butternuts were such a good crop for us this year and the flavor was exceptional. It all started way back in late spring, May 5th to be exact, when Rebekah carefully and gently planted 3,240 butternut squash seeds.
Like most large plants, butternut squash is a fast grower. From the time we seed until the time we plant is less than a month. In most years, that means we plant all of our winter squash by early June. Unfortunately, 2015 was most definitely not like most years.
Rain and cold had been causing us all sorts of problems throughout the month of May. Everything was a muddy mess. We had already abandoned our 1st two plantings of cucumbers, summer squash, and kale, and now I feared that our butternuts would never get planted. The fields were never ready, staying wet and unworkable. Finally, on a very special and very warm day in June (it also happened that Mickey – our newest CSA member – was born the same day), Hannah, Lauren, Rebekah, Camelia, Christina and myself planted each of them under less than ideal conditions.
Our troubles were far from over. As rainy as May was, June was worse. In fact, we set a record rainfall total for the month and I was certain that disease and rot were going to doom our butternut crop. Weeds quickly grew. But the butternuts hung tough. And they grew and grew and grew.
By October, we started to harvest the very first ripened squash. The whole farm basked in their squashy goodness. We had butternut squash soup and butternut squash bread. Someone made butternut squash cookies. Another brought in some butternut squash pie. Of course, roasted butternut squash seeds made the rounds a few times. We roasted it and baked it and pureed it too. I even think we had some butternut squash fudgcicles in there one day. And just last night, Sam and Molly made some of the best butternut squash raviolis I have ever eaten.
While the flavor is fantastic, the color is even better. Their tan hides constantly remind me of the beauty of the Autumn season. And our butternut squash this year have shown some of the most brilliant orange colors that I have ever seen. Even the seeds are healthy and strong.
I hope that you and your family have enjoyed your butternut squash as much as I have enjoyed ours. We have fully cured these squash so if they are still sitting on your counter, don’t worry. Under ideal conditions (about 50 degrees, dark and 75% humidity), they will last for many months. If you keep them on the counter like we do, they will still last for at least a month or two.
On behalf of everyone at Montalbano Farms, thank you for an absolutely incredible season. We love growing for you.