Boston MarrowCucurbita maxima
110 days — Originally referred to as 'Autumnal Marrow', 'Boston Marrow' was relatively unique when it was released. It was the first early, large winter squash variety which allowed growers to enter that market earlier in the season than ever before. Needless to say, for more than one hundred years, it was the most popular variety grown, many selections were made from it, and synonyms abounded.
Early mentions of 'Boston Marrow' describe it as weighing from five to six pounds. By the mid-1930s, its size had been increased to what we now see today.
The fruits have reddish-orange skin and measure about twelve inches in diameter by about sixteen inches in length. Weighing from eleven to over fifty-two pounds each, they average about twenty-five pounds. The flesh is fine-grained, yellow-orange, and bakes to a bright orange color. The leading seedsmen of the late 19th Century referred to 'Boston Marrow' as the "true pie squash
," and seemed to prefer it over the drier varieties. It can be used as a table squash as well as for pie filling.
Even though it is a large-fruited variety, it is very productive. We kept careful statistics for our 2012 season. In a patch that measured ten feet by forty feet, containing six hills of plants, we harvested twenty-seven squash. Their weights ranged from 12 to 52.5 pounds with an average of 25.6 pounds. The total harvested from that one patch was 639 pounds!
In a letter published by Fearing Burr, Jr., Mr. John M. Ives of Salem, Massachusetts acknowledged the gift of a specimen in the Spring of 1831 from a friend in Northampton, Massachusetts, who in turn had received the seeds from Buffalo, New York. He described that the original seed had been furnished to Buffalo gardeners by a tribe of Indians who visited that area in the spring of each year.[1,3]
And this is where the historic documentary trail ends.
Skeptical, James J. H. Gregory
wrote in the New England Farmer, "If this squash originated among our Indians as this statement might lead us to infer, it is too much to suppose that with its splendid appearance and the many excellent qualities it possessed when first introduced, it should have been unknown to the whites to so late a day.
An heirloom to the Buffalo, New York area, it was first distributed to select members of the Massachusetts Horticultural Society
by Mr. Ives in the Spring of 1833
and quickly became available as a commercial variety shortly thereafter. Each packet contains three grams, which is approximately 10 seeds.