In Your Box
Spaghetti squash (from Durst Organics)
Featured Veggie: Spaghetti Squash
Spaghetti squash first showed up in the US in 1936, when Burpee seed co. marketed the strain from a Japanese company as “vegetable spaghetti”. But the peculiar squash did not gain popularity in US households until WWII, when it was grown in victory gardens as a substitute for pasta due to shortages from the war. This nutty flavored, pale fleshed squash is high in nutrition and flavor, and low in carbs, calories and fat, what’s not to love? All you need to do is roast it up, scrape out the spaghetti-like strands of flesh, and pile on the pomodoro! Or Marinara! Arrabiata! Get creative!
Recipe: Roasted Spaghetti Squash with Parmesan and Herbs
by Marissa Lankes
"Everything you see, I owe to spaghetti."
- Sophia Loren
As the annual vegetable production on the farm wanes, I find myself cooped up in la oficina more often than usual. I’ve spent nearly every day of the past three years in the field, breathing in the crisp fresh air, basking in the warm sunlight, and listening to the larksongs around me. I do struggle with the indoors. And so, on my office days, to de-befuddle my mind, every few hours I pull on my boots, zip up my jacket, and head out into the elements for a refreshing farm stroll. The veggie field is sparse lately, just a few blocks of flourishing cole crops, and a grand rolling carpet of kelly green winter weeds adorning the fallow soil. But today, I took note of some often overlooked assets to our fields. Let us acknowledge our heroic hedgerows, which remain resolute regardless of the season, those perseverant perennials which soldier on through rain and frost, heat and drought! Let us sing the praises of our California natives! Here at the ranch, planted between the vegetable blocks in our main field are towering rows of culinary herbs and native plants. These “hedgerows” serve as a a wind blockade, and a barrier between the blocks of vegetables to confuse and deter pesky insects.
Hedgerows also function as a habitat and food source for beneficial insects (bees, lacewings, damsel bugs), which pollinate our plants and predate upon our pests. The native plants that make up our hedgerows play an important role on our farm, and have been important assets historically to native Californians as well.
Coyote Brush, for example, is the large shrub covered in fuzzy white flowers blooming this time of year. Its waxy leaves prevent moisture from evaporating into the air and are also fire retardant. This plant’s ability to resist fires and find water with its sprawling root system have allowed it to thrive for centuries. Native Miwok Indians used Coyote Brush’s leaves as an anti-inflammatory.
We also find Buckbrush in the hedgerow, an evergreen shrub with small, leathery leaves. Buckbrush is an important food source for deer in the wild, as well as a habitat for quail, bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds. Native Miwok peoples prized Buckbrush for its strength, length, and color, and used it for basket weaving, making tools and dyes. Coffee Berry, Western Redbud, Mugwort, and California Bay, among others stand proudly in the hedgerow, providing for our pollinators and serving as a cheerful reminder that even through the dark and dreary times, life goes on, and out of the winter comes the spring.