Sunday, November 1, 2009
As it turned out, the nine year old was the man with the information I needed. "And which variety is this?" I asked the more 'mature' gentleman behind the table at the Farmer's Market on Saturday. "Here's who can tell you" he said, as he pulled his (I think it was) grandson over to address the customer's question.
"Gal LOW dee ay see NAY" he told me, very carefully enunciating. "Oh, it's Italian?" I asked. "No, French." Must have asked him at least twice more what the name was, but eventually the old brain stored it, and I promised to look it up when I got back home. Three dollars went to the nine year old, and one of the most beautiful winter squashes I've ever seen went home with me.
It was the runt of the litter, so to speak, as it's remaining brethren were much larger and had much more impressive bumps ("those are the sugar caps!" my young instructor corrected, when I referred to them as 'peanuts'). That morning's quest had been to obtain a butternut-type to use either in a curry or soup (hadn't decided yet) so I didn't need a giant, and Grandad assured me this was suitable for my needs. And asked for a report the next time I came back. So I innocently went to the Farmer's Market and come back with homework, which means I can't just stick it on the counter and admire it for the next several months.
Once everything was unpacked at home I set to finding out what this new-to-me critter was. Remembering the bit about the French origins, I started googling Gallo plus Acine plus French plus heirloom plus squash, in various combinations, and bingo! after some twists and turns there she was- 'Galeux d'Eysines'. And of course everybody else in the know in the Heirloom Vegetable Community has grown and loved this variety for years, and numerous catalogs devoted to heirloom varieties carry it. Respect to you, dudes, as well as to my producer.
Galeux d'Eysines hails from Eysines, a city in the southwest of France. Seed Saver's Exchange says it is "The most popular squash that we offer". Most descriptions I've read put it in the 10-20 pound range, but mine is more like 6 pounds. Which is fine with me, and that works out to $.50 per pound for my score this weekend. Most sites also concur with my producer that it is great for soups as well as roasting.
So will it be soup, or will it be curry, or will it be...
Sorry, the homework assignment is ongoing. In the meantime, here are a few sources I found if you're interested in including this in next year's garden. Due to circumstances beyond my control, I currently have to depend on Other People's Gardens (i.e., the Farmer's Market), not my own, if I want to have Really Cool Veggies such as this.
Next year, though, there's always next year.
Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds
J.L. Hudson Seeds
Seed Saver's Exchange