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Diary of a Locavore: Save the Boston Marrow Squash!

If you live in the Boston area and are looking for a unique and tasty new dish to serve up at Thanksgiving, why not try the “deep-orange, finely-grained and excellent flavored”1 Boston Marrow Squash?

Oh, right. Because they’re nearly impossible to find. Good point, well-made.

Elspeth Pierson, of, wants everyone to know that we can save the squash, if we decide to do so. But we must act quickly.

I visited farmers’ market after market, farm stand after stand, and to no avail. The Boston Marrow squash truly is disappearing.

But there is one less tangible place I’ve encountered it. Tucked between the careful pages of local food author Gary Nabhan’s book, Renewing America’s Food Traditions: Saving and Savoring the Continent’s Most Endangered Foods, there it was. In bright and glossy orange, it jumped from the page with startling statistics. Brought to popularity in the mid-1800s, the squash can now be found from only two commercial seed companies: D. Landreth Seed and Heritage Harvest Seed.

Even one of the companies Nabhan lists in his book as one of the last to sell the seeds no longer does. Those have been hard to get for a while, now, the friendly operator informed me. We stopped carrying them a few years back. It’s no surprise, then, that the squash are disappearing from our dinner tables.

The time to save the squash, if we decide too, is now. That’s the easy part, of course. You simply order the seeds instead of Hubbard or butternut, and nurse the tiny seedlings through the spring. A year from now, you’ll serve your friends a stunning pie or soup or autumn gratin, and they’ll wonder at the magnificent taste. It won’t be hard at all to do, you simply have to choose to.

Read the whole article here. There’s even a recipe for stewed Boston Marrow “pumpkin”!

  1. Gary Paul Nabhan, Renewing America’s Food Traditions: Saving and Savoring the Continent’s Most Endangered Foods (White River Junction, Vt.: Chelsea Green Publishing, 2008), 130.

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