Yesterday, I joined about twenty others to help with the squash harvest at the Community Farm, near Chew Magna, Somerset. It was a beautiful day and together we gathered more than 200kg per person. It was my first experience of picking squash. Some of us moved up the field cutting them off the stalk and putting them into piles while another team moved with the tractor and sorted them into crates. The range of varieties was incredible and included Baby Bear, Turks Turban, Sweet Dumpling, Crown Prince, Celebration, Uchiki Kuri and Blue Balet. They were a mix of pumpkins and squash (a pumpkin has a longer stalk whilst a squash has more of a corky top) and a whole host of different colours.
We were joined for a time by the production team of On Your Farm who were making a programme about Luke Hassell’s adjacent farm. Luke rents some of his land to the Community Farm and he has been central to the organisation of this community focused business.
In the afternoon, after a lunch of soup, bread and pumpkin pie, not to mention a load of scrumptious puddings, we returned to squash picking. Once this was done, there were French beans to pick and Fat Hen to weed out of beds.
It was a wonderfully social day, a great opportunity to meet like minded people and to do something practical that benefits the wider community. It is a brilliant concept and a credit to everyone who has worked so hard over the years to develop it and grow it.
Ian, the farm manager, let us take some of the squash back home and in the evening we made sour dough pizzas with squash as the base layer. Delicious!