This year we're growing four varieties of summer squash (pictured above). From left to right the varieties are: Midnight lightning, Tromboncino, Sunburst, and Genovese. The midnight lightning is a dark zucchini which I've grown for many years and is even and reliable. I've grown the Tromboncino before, but not for a bunch of years so it feels a bit new again. It has very little seed cavity, much like a butternut winter squash all of the seeds are in the bell shaped end which leaves the rest of the neck with only tasty flesh. Sunburst has been the other standard and these are usually very productive, as well as tasty. Genovese is a new zucchini for me, with light color and a catalog description that led me to believe it has superior flavor. I'd love to get feedback on all of these and I'm cooking with them myself so I can decide if I want to keep all of them in the mix next year.
For crops where we're growing multiple varieties we mostly randomize who gets what, hoping that at some point during the season everyone will have gotten a chance to try everything. Another crop that I picked out some new varieties for is tomatoes (pictured below). From right to left the bigger tomatoes are: Juane Flamme, Moscovitch, and Japanese Black Trifle. The Juane Flame is like a big gold cherry, very tasty and productive. The Moscovitch is a versatile red tomato with great flavor. The Black Trifle is my attempt to replace Black Prince, which was tasty, but not particularly productive. So far it seems off to a good start with its distinctive slight pear shape and dark shoulders.
The cherries from left to right are: Black, Galina, Peacevine and Sungold. Sungold is a perennial favorite, fruity and super productive. I haven't found a red cherry that compares, but I'm trying Peacevine again, after not being happy with a few other varieties in the past couple of years. Galina is new for me and is described as productive and good keeper. I think the flavor is ok and I'm hoping it will get better, or at least produce long into the fall. Black is a new favorite for me. It's big and flavorful so I'm hoping it's productive enough to keep.
We pick most of our tomatoes a few days before they're dead ripe. This allows them to ripen more evenly on your kitchen counter, and the reality is that they're pretty darned good eating all the way from the time we pick them to about a week later, if you let them sit out on the counter. Don't put them in the fridge. It kills the flavor and texture, although it does help them store for longer.
On summer squash I also suggest leaving it out on the counter, out of the sun. It won't ripen more, but it keeps its flavor better, and squash can suffer cold damage in the fridge. I keep squash that way for up to a week. If you are going to store squash in the fridge, at least wrap it in plastic so that it doesn't dry out and become rubbery.
Picky Vegetable Picker