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Rare Squash Variety Saved From Extinction
Once a commonly grown large winter squash by many members of the Hopi tribe in the Southwest, the Hopi Pale Grey squash very nearly became extinct.  First offered for sale by the Abundant Life Seeds Co., this variety nearly disappeared following a disastrous fire which not only burned their building but their valuable seed bank, including the Hopi Pale Grey seed. No one else was offering this seed.
  Luckily, I had earlier purchased some seed, growing it out first on our homestead in northern New Mexico and then later in the mountains of Montana.  After seeing how abundantly it produced in often less than prime growing conditions, I continued growing this squash and carefully saving pure seeds from my best squash.  That was twenty some years ago.
  There are a lot of varieties of squash out there today.  Why is this particular one so good?  First, it’s hugely productive.  It has rampant vines that frequently produce more than 6 big squash each.  The squash range in size from 6 to more than 20 lbs.  The skin of mature squash is a light pale bluish gray and each roundish or football-shaped squash has a “belly button” on the blossom end.
  The orange flesh is sweet with fruity overtones.  Best of all, Hopi Pale Greys will not only store over winter but will store often past 2 winters, in normal household conditions such as under beds or in closets. No wonder the Hopis valued this squash so much.
  Today, my husband Will and I continue raising this great ancient squash on our homestead in northern Minnesota.  As a writer and blogger for the Backwoods Home Magazine, I often mentioned the squash and readers viewed photos of it through the years.  Soon, many of these readers began asking us if we could send them some seeds.  And we did, free of charge. 
  People loved the squash they grew.  Word spread.  Three years ago, we sent out more than 200 packs of free seeds.  Folks were discovering how versatile this squash was.  Not only did they love it baked but also shredded on salads, mashed in casseroles, stuffed and using it like I do, in baked desserts including the best-ever pumpkin pie.
  The response to requests for Hopi Pale Grey squash seed and others that we raise on our homestead led us to start a small heirloom and open-pollinated seed business, offering all untreated, non-GMO contaminated, often rare and hand-gathered seeds from our 120-acre homestead.  It looks like although still very rare (no other seed companies currently offer this squash) it should be safe from extinction.
  The Hopi Pale Grey squash is a Cucurbita maxima so in order to save pure seeds, no other squash of this species, including buttercup, hubbard and some varieties of pumpkins, should be grown within at least a half mile as it is insect pollinated and can easily crossbreed.
  Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Jackie and Will Atkinson, Seed Treasures, 8533 Hwy. 25, Angora, Minn. 55703 (www.seedtreasures.com). 

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2016 - Volume #40, Issue #2