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Abundant Future: Cultivating Diversity in Garden, Farm, and Field


Blue Hubbard Squash

Cucurbita maxima 'Blue Hubbard'

After reading the Abundant Future call for entry, I knew I wanted an heirloom subject that would represent a food grown worldwide. Through my research I came up with squash. Members of the Cucurbitaceae family are grown in almost every corner of the globe and play an important role in feeding millions of people. They also happen to be my favorite plant family. The difficult part was narrowing down the vast number of varieties to just one example. My choice was the ‘Blue Hubbard’, whose story is somewhat of a mystery as to whom exactly it is named for and who was the first to cultivate it.

One theory is that it was named for and grown by a Bela Hubbard of Randolph Township, Ohio, who was a settler in the Connecticut Western Reserve section of Ohio in the 1780s. This appears to be where the story ends. I couldn’t find any more information about Bela and bringing the squash to the commercial market. I tend to believe it is more likely named for Elizabeth Hubbard. Legend has it that an unknown sea captain brought the squash to Marblehead, Massachusetts, from the West Indies in 1798, where Mrs. Hubbard was to eventually grow it in 1842. She in turn gave some seeds to her Marblehead neighbor, James J.H. Gregory, the largest farmer and seed grower in New England, claiming “it was the best squash she had ever tasted.”

However, another tale says Sarah Martin was given the seeds by her brother, sea Captain Knott Martin, and she, along with her sister Martha, cultivated the squash. Miss Martin was too shy to approach Mr. Gregory, so she asked Elizabeth Hubbard, Mr. Gregory’s washwoman, to give the seeds to him. Whether Elizabeth was his neighbor or washwoman, we do know that Mr. Gregory began cultivating the squash and named it for Mrs. Hubbard. He further developed the blue grey skin color by a chance crossing of the Middleton and Marblehead squash in 1870.  

In 1883 Mr. Gregory wrote a book, Squashes, How to Grow Them. This vintage book is still in print and will be a real page-turner for me! Mr. Gregory became a huge success. In 1909, The Gregory Seed Company began selling the ‘Blue Hubbard’ squash.

This rich history, along with the global significance of squash sold me on my subject.


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Read more about this artist’s work: 23rd Annual

Abundant Future-McEntee - Blue Hubbard

Cucurbita maxima 'Blue Hubbard'

Blue Hubbard Squash

Colored pencil on paper

20 x 25 inches

©2020 Tammy McEntee

2024 ASBA - All rights reserved

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