Nominee for Slow Food USA’s Ark of Taste: The Sugar Hubbard Squash

Slow Food’s Ark of Taste aims to rediscover, describe and publicize forgotten flavors around the world. Through the Ark of Taste program, Slow Food USA has a catalog of over 200 delicious foods in danger of extinction. Since 1996, more than 800 products from over 50 countries have been added to the international Ark of Taste. By promoting and eating Ark products we help ensure that they remain in production and on our plates.

The mission of the Slow Food Ark of Taste is to preserve traditional tastes and to celebrate them, by introducing them to the Slow Food membership and then to the world. All of the foods on the Ark of Taste are heritage products that have real economic viability and commercial potential for the communities that grow, produce or harvest them.

Since it’s inception, Slow Food Seattle has successfully boarded four regional food products onto the Slow Food Ark of Taste including Olympia Oyster, Marbled Chinook Salmon, Geoduck, and Makah Ozette Potato (our only Presidium product). Slow Food Seattle’s latest Ark of Taste nomination is the Sugar Hubbard, a sweet heirloom winter squash with a unique Puget Sound heritage. Former Slow Food Seattle Co-Chair, and Puget Sound Food Network Project Manager, Lucy Norris, recently wrote about this important heirloom in the winter 2010 issue of Edible Seattle.

Read the full story in Edible Seattle, or download a PDF version.

Sugar Hubbard Squash

The Sugar Hubbard Squash, grown at Sherman's Pioneer Farm Produce in central Whidbey Island, is Slow Food Seattle's latest nomination for the Ark of Taste.

Sherman’s Pioneer Farm Produce in central Whidbey Island grows the only commercial crop of Sugar Hubbard in the country. It is the result of combining traditional blue Hubbard and Sweetmeat squash, inheriting the best flavor and texture characteristics of both. The Sugar Hubbard is a nutrient dense, starchy squash (with a high glycemic index), but also very high in vitamin A, exceeding USDA requirements for Beta Carotene. Most winter squash varieties are interchangeable in recipes, and the Sugar Hubbard is nutty-sweet and the colored deep orange like a marigold. Try it in a favorite recipe that calls for winter squash, and you’ll be impressed.

The Sugar Hubbard has an excellent flavor, and it’s uniquely local to Puget Sound, with a strong family heritage. It has every asset required for boarding onto Slow Food’s Ark of Taste. Slow Food Seattle’s interest in boarding this product on the Ark of Taste will send a signal to conscientious consumers and help boost market demand in our area. Voting with your fork helps food producers like the Sherman’s remain profitable in the business of farming in our region. Only the best tasting endangered foods make it onto the Ark, and we think the Sugar Hubbard is a great fit.

Find the Squash
Peeled squash cubes are available at all Whole Foods locations in Oregon and Washington as long as the supply holds out. Liz and Dale continue to look for additional retailers for their squash. Sherman’s Pioneer Farm Produce is located at 46 South Ebey Road, Coupeville, WA. Contact Liz or Dale Sherman at 360.678.4675.

Looking for recipes?
Spice Loaf – by Editor, Edible Seattle
Chili Stew – by Lucy Norris, adapted from an original recipe by Liz Sherman

Excerpts with permission from Edible Seattle.

Dale Sherman in his field of Sugar Hubbard Squash

Dale Sherman in his field of Sugar Hubbard squash. Photo: Lara Ferroni

Lucy Norris is Project Manager for Puget Sound Food Network, a project of the Northwest Agriculture Business Center, former co-chair of Slow Food Seattle, and author of Pickled: Preserving a World of Tastes and Traditions.

Slow Food Seattle Albacore Canning Day with Jeremy Brown

Tuna canning guru and Washington fisherman, Jeremy Brown

Tuna canning guru and Washington fisherman, Jeremy Brown.

In the spirit of Terra Madre Day, over fifty Slow Food Seattle members and community supporters came together on November 28th for a day-long fish canning workshop called – “Time to Tin a Tuna!” – taught by Jeremy Brown, a Bellingham-based commercial fisherman and longtime proponent of Slow Food.

Wild Pacific Albacore has been in the news for all the right reasons – topping the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Super Green List and on National Public Radio in a feature on the growth of micro-canneries in the Pacific Northwest.

Though you can find canned albacore tuna at your local food co-ops or fish markets in many communities, this was an opportunity to learn firsthand with someone well-versed in the process and safety considerations of using pressure cookers. At the end of the day, attendees left with both with the pride of supporting a local fisherman and a good stock of Wild Pacific Albacore to last through the long northwest winter. In past years, Jeremy had done these canning days in the coastal town of Port Townsend, Washington with Amy Grondin, a Slow Food Seattle board member and Port Townsend resident. This was the first time collaborating directly with Slow Food Seattle.

Volunteers washed, trimmed, and cut the tuna into chunks for canning.

Volunteers washed, trimmed, and cut the tuna into chunks for canning.

We were at maximum capacity a matter of days after announcing the event. We were able to use a commercial kitchen space donated by Gourmondo, a local catering company and Jeremy arrived with everything we needed to preserve our own delicious and nutritious, locally caught albacore tuna to see us through until the 2011 albacore fishing season.

The fish was pre-cut into steaks and with the help of a rotating assembly line of volunteers – we cleaned, trimmed, chopped, packed and processed a thousand pounds of albacore in eight hours!

The recipe was an old Breton family recipe Jeremy picked up while in France many years back – simple and delicious for anyone with a pressure canner and access to some great local fish:

  • Pack tuna cut into about 2-inch chunks into jars along with a pinch of salt (we used kosher salt and 12-ounce jars).
  • The secret ingredient that adds just the right level of sweetness is a slice of carrot.
  • Add extra-virgin olive oil about half-way filling the jars, wipe the rims, cover with the lids and process.

Slow Food Seattle made the round-up on Terra Madre Day on the Slow Food USA blog!

Wild Pacific Albacore Tuna

Wild Pacific Albacore Tuna

 

June Lee (bottom left), Philip Lee (top right), Amy Grondin (top center) skinning and cleaning albacore.

June Lee (bottom left), Philip Lee (top right), Amy Grondin (top center) skinning and cleaning albacore.

Tuna in jars, ready to be processed. The "secret" ingredient is a slice of carrot for sweetness.

Tuna in jars, ready to be processed. The "secret" ingredient is a slice of carrot for sweetness.

SFS board member, Patricia Eddy and her husband, John Eddy breaking down tuna steaks.

SFS board member, Patricia Eddy and her husband, John Eddy - both of cooklocal.com - breaking down tuna steaks.

Jars of tuna, waiting their turn for the pressure cooker.

Jars of tuna, waiting their turn for the pressure cooker.

Pressure cooker, letting off some steam. Tuna jars cooling in the background.

Pressure cooker, letting off some steam. Tuna jars cooling in the background.

Photos: Jennifer Johnson