The other day, Bob went to Windy Meadows Farm to visit Gerry Levitt and brought back a crooknecked pumpkin they grew from seed we saved.  This beautiful squash represents three generations of crooknecked pumpkins, beginning with the first one we brought home from The Cupboard in Denton, Texas.

Bob plays around with the grandmother crooknecked pumpkin we bought in Texas in 2007.

It was three years ago when we were shopping for food at the natural grocery that we saw a pile of very large squash.  Unable to resist the unusual shape and sheer size, we bought one and took it home.  We used it for a photo op prop before eating it for dinner.  Or several dinners as it turned out.

The crooknecked pumpkin hails from the butternut squash family and has a very small seeds-to-flesh ratio compared to most squash.  There are seeds in the bulb of the squash only.  The long neck is pure butternut.  Even better, we found that it stores well after it being cut, so we could cut off a meal-sized piece and put the rest of the squash back into the refrigerator.

Like butternut, the crooknecked pumpkin was delicious!  So Bob saved seeds and planted them in his North Carolina the next year, after we moved .  We were rewarded by an enormous plant with half a dozen giant pumpkins.  That’s when we discovered that they stored for months without showing signs of wear.  Which explains why the Amish are so fond of them.  We also learned that most of the pumpkin in canned pumpkin that you buy in the store is actually crooknecked pumpkin.

Camille with a 13-pound crooknecked pumpkin, the largest of our 2008 crop.

Bob saved seed again and since he’s teaching farmers as part of the Sustainable Agriculture program and Central Carolina Community College, he shared his seeds with his students.

The next year, our crooknecked pumpkins didn’t do so well.  They were hit hard by squash bugs and squash vine borers.  We were disappointed to miss a year.  Or so we thought.

Gerry gave Bob one of the crooknecked pumpkins he harvested last October, grown from the seed Bob handed out in class the year before.  We can’t wait to start hacking off meals from this beauty and of course, saving some of the seed!

By Camille Armantrout

Camille lives with her soul mate Bob in the back woods of central North Carolina where she hikes, gardens, cooks, and writes.

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