As you know we spent the month of October in Keystone, South Dakota. We met a lot of interesting people including a man named David who works with Native Americans. He had a wonderful story to tell us about a squash called Gete Okosomin.
The seeds of the Gete Okosomin were discovered in 2008 during an archeological dig on a Menominee reservation near Green Bay, Wis. The seeds were found in a clay ball, used for storing seeds. These squash seeds eventually were given to Winona LaDuke, a longtime advocate for native food sovereignty. She called the squash Gete-okosomin, an Anishinaabe word that roughly translates to “really cool old squash”. The White Earth Land Recovery Project grew fifty of them, and now have seeds to share with Native communities across the North Country. Now the squash is served to elders, children, and used for ceremonies at White Earth.The vines of the squash can grown to over 25 feet long and the squash themselves can grow up to three feet long and 18 pounds.
David was given some of the seeds and had to opportunity to grow them himself.
He had brought one of his squash with him to Keystone. The squash was cooked up and shared one night. This pre-Colombian squash is delicious: hints of melon, terrific texture, and abundant flesh. There was plenty for all to enjoy and the seeds were dried and shared with everyone who attended the Keystone Training.Stories of seed savers are so interesting. I love hearing how certain varieties of seeds have been saved for hundreds of years. I am so honored to have been given some of these special seeds and will grow them carefully to preserve the purity of the seeds. I have only six seeds but I can’t wait to try growing them in our Vermont garden next year.