Spinella Farm

  (Waterford Works, New Jersey)
Life on a 100-year-old market farm

Thoughts for Thursday, June 26, 2014

One of the nice things about running a farm stand is the exposure you give to people of different kinds of foods they have never eaten. One of these is the zucchini or squash blossom.

This is the male flower of the zucchini that is popular in many cultures, most notably in Italy. You can make what is known as tempura. Basically, you dip the flower in batter and fry it or you can stuff the flower with cheeses, seafood or whatever and then fry it or bake it.

We were introduced to this years ago when we had a customer route in South Philadelphia. We delivered tomatoes there by the hundreds for ladies to make tomato sauce or gravy. My grandfather started the route in the 40s and we continued it through the 90s before discontinuing it. That's another story for another blog.

South Philadelphia, at one time, had a large Italian population. One day we get a frantic call from a lady who needed zucchini flowers. I couldn't remember Grandpop, who was deceased by now, ever selling zucchini flowers. But knowing that cultures have different uses for different foods I didn't get question what she was going to do with the flower part of the squash. When I delivered it to her, she told me how to prepare it. The funny part of the story was that her daughter was pregnant and craved the flowers big time! We headed off trouble and learned of a new use for the a plant that we regularly grew.

Over time we learned that certain chefs also prepared the flower as a delicacy and we would sell them by the dozens. The beauty of all this was that we made more money on the flower than the fruit. Everyone was selling the fruit but hardly anyone sold the flower. We had an exclusive market for a long time.

The same thing happened on our stand and eventually we came to stock the flowers and the fruit on the stand but command more money for the flower. 

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