Like everything else, the squash came early this year. Pumpkins were bright orange in the field up to 2 weeks ago. Butternut was longer than my forearm. Acorns bore the beautiful deep orange circle signifying their ripeness. But who wants to pick squash in August? It just doesn’t seem right!
So we didn’t. We went past the field each day we were at Soule and focused on tomatoes, peppers, potatoes, beets, and all the rest of the summer harvest. And then September came. It seemed time. So earlier this week Dave took a walk out into the field to take a closer look. Most of the vines had died away at this point leaving the fruits in the bright sunshine. This wasn’t good. Many of the acorns had formed a yellowish soft spot… some type of sun burn. He looked all around him, 360 degrees, and saw thousands and thousands of pounds of squash that needed to be picked. Now.
Of course, that wasn’t the only thing that needed to happen now. Market and CSA harvests, tomato picking, weeding, hoeing, and much much more. And so squash was added to the long list, with an added needle that the longer it sat, the more we might lose.
Friday came and Jen and Dave decided to go for it. They spent a couple hours pulling all of the acorn in one row and laying it in rows in the field to later be packed into crates and removed. But when they grabbed the bins for loading the rains came. They took their lunches back to Fuller to wait it out. When the skies cleared, or at least stopped leaking, they headed back. No sooner were they back on the field then the skies opened up again. It just wasn’t going to happen.
And so they sat through the night and Dave worried that the rains would continue well into Saturday, ruining our CSA harvest and preventing removal of the squash. But hurricane Earl and its outer bands of rain were in a hurry, and by the time we woke up on Saturday, the skies were clear, the air was crisp, and we headed to Soule to remove 750 pounds of acorn squash from the fields. 750 down, many many thousand to go.
We were a bit discouraged because so many of the squash was sun burned. There was a lot of fruit out there and that’s a lot of harvest to lose. And we still had to find the hands and people to deal with what was left.
Sunday morning came and it was another perfect day. And along with the weather came two wonderful and willing CSA volunteers – Michelle and Scott Hagg. We made our way back out into the ocean of squash and tackled the butternut. We probably pulled 2,500 to 3,000 pounds. We lined them up in the field as we went. When that was complete, we wiped clean enough squash to fill all the crates we had and the back of the truck. About 1,000 pounds. We were very happy to see that the butternut looked great! They withstood the glare of the sun and were holding up nice.
We’re making progress!