Some years you hear about a small pumpkin crop and local farmers having to truck in the squashes to keep up with demand. Not so this year. As Alex Goetzfriend documents in our Winter 2014 issue, excess pumpkins were once vital to making it through the winter, for animals and people. Today, the East End’s growing livestock population is benefiting from the surfeit. See photos and a Q&A with from our FreshDirect pumpkin picking with cofounder David McInerney; he works with many East End farms. And learn about the different kinds of squashes below.
Hubbard Squash–A variety that grows really well in our climate and soil, the Hubbard squash and its vibrant sibling, the blue Hubbard squash, are described by the Long Island Seed Project like this: “The original Hubbard squash was transported by sea trade to coastal Marblehead, Massachusett,s probably from Argentina or Chili via the West Indies. It was a heavy, hard shelled 25 to 40 pounder and was given the name “Hubbard Squash” by farmer and teacher, James Howard Gregory after the lady who introduced him and his father to the “sea” squash, a respected housekeeper, Elizabeth Hubbard.”
Long Island Cheese Pumpkin–Our very own pumpkin. It’s cute, it cooks well and it tastes great. Edible Long Island contributor T.W. Barritt covered the squash on his blog Culinary Types. He says, “The cheese pumpkin – a variety of Cucurbita moschata squash – was widely available from the 1800s to the 1960s before it became scarce. According to the Long Island Seed Project, a Long Island seed saver named Ken Ettlinger is credited with the renaissance of the cheese pumpkin and its link to Long Island.”
Sweet Dumpling–Like its name says, this is sweet squash, and it grows well on the East End. Like the Hubbard and the Long Island Cheese, this is a winter squash, which means it has a hard skin, unlike summer squashes like zucchini. Snap off the stem, cut it in half crosswise and pop it in the microwave skin and all. Scoop it out and mash with goat cheese or accent the sweetness with maple syrup and butter spooned into the center.