What's In Season at the Farmers Market: Flying Saucer Summer Squash

Flying Saucers from Peacock Family Farms at the Hollywood market
Flying Saucers from Peacock Family Farms at the Hollywood market
Felicia Friesema

Summer squash aren't a surprise at a June market; they're as ubiquitous as baseball and rattlesnake warnings for hikers. Worse -- or great, depending on your perspective -- they're easy to grow. Perhaps too easy, given how many bags of them quietly appear on neighbors' porches. Farmers know this, and have worked some novelty into their crops, harvesting them when they're the size of your pinkie or skipping the fruit altogether and offering baskets of the large Day-Glo squash flowers ready for stuffing.

Myriad heirlooms also join the piles -- Gelber Englischer Custard, Costata Romanesco and the aptly named Black Beauty, to name a few -- but the differences are sometimes subtle. And undergoing multiple zucchini taste tests doesn't have quite the same appeal as a flight at your local wine bar. So start with the whimsical Flying Saucer Pattypan, a striking nubbed scallop squash, which Peacock Family Farms has been bringing to market for the past few summers.

The Flying Saucers that Scott Peacock sells are more mature than some available at the market -- flouting the current trend of smaller is better -- spanning two to four inches across, pointy nubs included. A couple of decades ago it was popular to scoop them out like pumpkins and roast them with some other, usually meaty, filling. Please don't repeat history.

Flying Saucers have a deep, sweet nutty flavor (think almonds) both raw and cooked, and unlike some of their other summer squash cousins, don't melt into a watery mess. The flesh is dense and crisp but not fibrous or chewy, and they're perfect for grilling, frying or enjoying a three-day bath in a spicy or sweet refrigerator pickle brine. Shredded into raw slaw, they are a little sweet and carroty. As the season warms up, the yellow accents tend to fade and the green dominates.

You can find Peacock Family Farms at the Wednesday Santa Monica market and the Sunday market in Hollywood.

Find your local market on our interactive farmers market map.


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