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Cucurbita maxima


This old Native American winter pumpkin originated in the region along the Appoquinimink River in New Castle County, Delaware.  Because it is a member of the Cucurbita maxima species, “old” must be qualified since this species was largely unknown in eastern North America until after the colonial period. Introduction of this squash may have occurred during the Dutch occupation of the Delaware River or slightly earlier: sometime in the latter part of the 1500s when other South American food plants were traded from Spanish ships stopping along the coast   Antoine Duchesne illustrated a look-alike in 1772, but his squash is presumed to be a member of the pepo species. However, Duchesne’s notes are not too clear about this and in fact contain some errors, thus we cannot invoke him for a definitive identification.

The Appoquinimink squash was preserved by Quaker farmers living in the area around Odessa as well as by Nanticoke people living farther inland on the Delaware-Maryland border.  This unique winter storing pumpkin is noteworthy for its fine texture, which is not mealy but rather dense and firm, as well as starchy, hence its traditional use in hearth-baked breads.  It was selected over the centuries for slow baking qualities: even the mottled skin is edible.


The average weight of mature fruit is about 4 ½ pounds, measuring 7 to 8 inches in diameter and 6 inches in height.  They are excellent for storing and will keep well for at least 6 months.


~Minimum 25 seeds per packet.

Appoquinimink Cheese Pumpkin

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