Summer Squash--In Winter?

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Photo by Anastatia Curley/FlickrCC


To try Anastatia's summer squash hash with yogurt sauce, click here.

One of the odd things about my winter CSA share is that it often contains things like yellow summer squash, tomatoes, or eggplants. I say "odd" because I live in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and there is half a foot of snow on the ground and no way anyone is growing these vegetables at a farm nearby.

As I mentioned in my first CSA post, though, the vegetables in my CSA share don't come from one local farm but from a few different farms up and down the east coast: the organically grown eggplants and summer squash are both from Somerset Farms, in Florida. The goal behind this approach is to create a regional foodshed, which offers wider variety but still hews to the seasons of the East Coast, and has a lower environmental impact than importing conventional produce from farther afield.

And so my squash sat in my refrigerator for almost a week, reproaching me every time I opened the crisper drawer.

Now, I love that this wide-ranging approach means I get organic citrus from Florida every week, but I'm less ecstatic about the squash. As Maggie said a few weeks ago while we were unpacking our box, "I'm down with the whole 'East Coast foodshed' thing and all, but I just can't get used to eating tomatoes in December." Neither can I. I'm not sure if it's that I've been trying to eat seasonally for long enough that it's become second nature, or if it's that one's body naturally craves things like hearty root vegetables when it's cold out, but the idea of eating a fresh tomato in the middle of January just seems all wrong. I'd be as likely to wear a bikini to a business meeting.

Beyond the incongruity of eating summer vegetables in wintry New England, though, lies the real problem: I just don't like summer squash. I don't even eat it during the summer. I enjoy zucchini, but I have a childish aversion to yellow crookneck squash—when I try to describe its texture, the only word I can come up with is "yucky."

And so my squash sat in my refrigerator for almost a week, reproaching me every time I opened the crisper drawer. I knew I had to eat it. Or at least, I knew I really ought to eat it. But instead of inspiring culinary creativity, this only made me grumpy.

I thought a better chef than I might help, so I consulted my shelf of cookbooks, to no avail: many of them contained no reference to summer squash whatsoever. (While frustrating, this also makes me feel vaguely vindicated in my dislike of the vegetable.) The ones that did suggested grilling it or sautéing it with herbs. To which I say, well, I don't need a cookbook to come up with that cooking technique.

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Anastatia Curley is the former Communications Coordinator of the Yale Sustainable Food Project. More

Anastatia Curley is the former Communications Coordinator of the Yale Sustainable Food Project. She now lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts, where she writes, cooks, and caters local and sustainable meals.

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