The Sugar Hubbard squash (Cucurbita maxima) is a large, torpedo-shaped winter squash with a blue-gray skin and bright gold flesh. This variety was developed in the late 1940s as a cross between the Blue Hubbard and the Sweet Meat heirloom varieties by a collaboration between Whidbey Island farmer Edwin Sherman and Washington State University, which further developed the seed stock and kept the strain in existence. The strain is open pollinated, producing viable seeds that are true to cultivar.
The Sugar Hubbard inherited the best qualities of both: its flesh is moister than the traditional Blue Hubbard and it stores longer than the Sweet Meat. Seeds are planted in May, and vigorous 3-meter long vines produce 4-5 squash weighing about 9 kilograms each. The squash are harvested by hand in October, and keep well in storage until the next year’s planting.
The Sugar Hubbard squash is naturally sweet and delicious when prepared as a puree or roasted. It can be added to everything from soups to bread to ice cream, and makes an excellent pie. It is very rich in nutrients, including beta-carotene, potassium, iron, zinc, protein, vitamin C, and many B-vitamins. Roasted squash seeds also make a tasty snack. This variety is better suited to cooler, maritime climates as compared to other varieties grown in the western United States. The Sugar Hubbard squash is a local favorite on Whidbey Island and in Washington state, appearing a staple fall and winter crop.
The Sugar Hubbard squash is unique to the Pacific Northwestern United States. It is grown primarily in the Puget Sound region of Washington state, and by home gardeners and farmers as far south as Oregon. By the mid-2010s, there remained only one commercial seed source, making this an endangered variety, and only one commercial farming operation that growing the Sugar Hubbard squash on Whidbey Island.