Winter Squash, Lower Salmon River (Organic)
Cucurbita maxima. 90 days.
Lower Salmon River Squash is on the short list of heritage Pacific Northwest winter squash varieties. Grown in and around Idaho’s Lower Salmon River, possibly for generations, it is uniquely adapted to our bioregion. Plants seem to love it here and are pretty high yielding. Deep orange sweet flesh is flakier and drier than Sweet Meat. Delicious for pies and soup or even served sliced as a side dish with butter. The salmon pink colored skin is very thick with light mottling. Almost woody rind helps the fruit store for up to one year under ideal conditions and discourages mouse and deer nibbling. Hard rind can be susceptible to cracking if over-watered late in the season – harvest before the fall rains begin. Fruit are generally 3-10 lbs, with an occasional jumbo 15 pounder. Some fruit have a more buttercup shape (more turban like) and others have a more kabocha shape (less turban like). We select for both in our stock seed, liking both shapes and the slight thematic variability is part of its integrity. During squash tasting events held in December 2014 by the Culinary Breeding Network, Lower Salmon River was a big flavor winner: “The texture was on point in each cooking method [raw, steamed, roasted]….will perform well in a variety of processes including a quick and mild pickle, sweet and sour, simple preparations such as roasted, skin on slices or cubed and cooked with hearty herbs and spices. Great squash for home and restaurant alike.” Wow! Original seed sourced from Nicki Maxwell, a friend of The Seed Ambassadors Project who has worked to preserve Pacific Northwest heritage varieties through the Eugene chapter of Slow Food and the Ark of Taste project.
Sow indoors in 2” pots with good potting soil May to mid-June. Transplant into the garden 1-2 weeks after sprouting to 2-3’ centers and 6 ft wide rows. May also be direct sown when soil is warm. Squash plants are frost-sensitive and benefit from row cover to protect them from insects and frost while plants are young.
To save seed, scoop out seeds when you eat the fruit. Rinse off and dry. Isolate from other squash of the same species by at least ½ mile.