Black Forest Winter Squash, Sweet Dumpling Squash, Georgia Candy Roaster Squash, Buttercup Squash, Cinderella Pumpkins, Jarrahdale Pumpkins... The names are musical to the ear and the fruit is lovely to the eye! These are the fall crops we have harvested this past week. And what a lovely crop we gleaned! We are all thrilled with the variety and the colours of our fall goodies. And, apparently our customers at the farmer's market found our treasures just as appealing!
Each of the varieties is an heirloom, which means that we can save the seeds and plant them next year. For us, this is a given; we try to only use heirlooms as we are fearful of the Genetically Modified seeds and produce. Our bodies are not created to deal with foods that are not natural. We don't have the amino acids or the chemistry to deal with unfamiliar compounds. A case in point is artificial sweeteners. Research shows that these pass through our systems unprocessed because our bodies do not know what to do with them. So, it stands to reason that GMO foods will pass through our systems without our bodies gleaning every single ounce of nutrition from the food.
And, saving heirloom seeds is important for another reason. What if crops fail and seeds are not available for next year's plantings? What then?
Such was the case here in our little corner of the mountains some 75 years ago. A terrible drought strangled crops in the fields. Food supplies diminished, but being good mountain folks, enough was put by for the next year. But, when the next summer came and the reserve seeds were planted, another drought dried crops in the fields. While folks still had food to eat (we hunt, fish, and scavenge quite well, thank you), no one had seeds for the next year's crop. Except one rather odd woman who lived alone on her farm. She saved her seeds every year. Jar after jar lined her barn shelves and spilled over into her house. Spare rooms overflowed with seed jars, each carefully labeled, their contents safely stored against possible want.
Hat in hand, the community leaders (read: pastors) called on her. She didn't keep the Sabbath with them. She had been an outsider because of her "odd" ways. Yet, she pleasantly greeted her visitors, inviting them to sit in the yard under an old, dying chestnut tree. She offered them water from the spring and a slice of tall, rich pound cake, which they eagerly took. No one in the mountains conducts business on an empty stomach.
After a little chat about the dry weather, the men broached the subject of the seeds. She listened patiently. Personally, I think she knew what they were there for and just wanted to see how long it would take for them to ask. Mountain men hate to ask women for anything and won't look 'em in the face when they do.
Finally, the presentation was over. She sat quietly, knitting in her lap. She brushed her apron smooth and paused, "Well, I guess I could share some." It was arranged that each family would receive what they needed and no more. And, each person had to save their seeds, all their seeds, in the next crop. She calculated that she had enough for each person in our district for two years. Surely, she pondered, God would send rain.
Well, of course you know He did and the next year's crops were abundant. Seeds were saved and are still passed down in families. And, such are the crops many of us still grow -- such as the Candy Roaster.
Do you save seeds??