Squash and I go way back. About 50 years ago I remember helping my Mom pick Buttercup squash after fall frosts, a variety that remained her favorite, despite our trying most of the other types during my teenage gardening years. As a young college student I worked summers for the NDSU squash breeder and in the fall we taste-tested hundreds of baked squash samples, evaluating for flavor, sweetness, texture, etc.
We’ve always planted squash in our garden, trying many, but usually preferring the Buttercup or similar types. About 3 years ago I stumbled upon the best-tasting squash I’ve ever grown, have grown it ever since, and my days of squash-shopping are done. Why do I like it so well? The sweetness and flavor are remarkably better than anything else I’ve tasted. When we baked other squash, including Buttercup, we usually added brown sugar. This squash has it’s own built-in brown sugar sweetness; no need to add extra.
The name is a bit long – ‘Uncle David’s Dakota Dessert Squash.’ Here’s the scoop:
- It’s called a Buttercup-type, and is a cross between Hubbard, Gold Nugget, and other maxima squash. It was developed through 40 years of selection by the Podoll family, operators of Prairie Road Organic Seeds.
- It was developed right here in North Dakota, Fullerton, which is in the southeast part of the state.
- The flesh is thick, deep orange in color, has a rich taste, smooth texture, and the sweetness is remarkable.
- Vines are vigorous and yield well even in variable conditions, including cool summers.
- It stores very well for most of the winter. In fact, the flavor reaches and maintains its peak after 1-2 months of storage, making it an ideal vegetable for winter use.
- It’s great for “pumpkin” pie, much better than pumpkin itself.
- The squash has performed very well for us.
I first happened upon Uncle David’s Dakota Dessert Squash on a seed rack at Baker Garden & Gift, Fargo. The squash’s developer, Prairie Road Organic Seeds has a good website with contact information, and seed can be ordered directly from them. They also have many other vegetables well-adapted to the Upper Midwest. Their site can be found at https://www.prairieroadorganic.co/pages/contact-us