The Case of Stolen Squash Blossoms

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Early yesterday morning we awoke to find our squash blossoms missing. The sight of it, or more accurately – the lack thereof, was enough to make us to do a double take.  We rubbed our eyes thinking this action might shake off a bad dream.  No dice, our blossoms were still missing. Our eyes darted across the landscape as we looked around for fresh evidence.  Perhaps our garden thief was cute little bunny rabbit hiding in the bushes?  Arguably, Mother Nature caring for her own is not an ideal scenario to consider – but Gaia sustaining the circle of life is always forgiven.   As we stared down at the clean dirt, still in shock, we realized the stems had been cut clean; they had been sliced with more precision than even I would have bothered to snip.  We were in utter disbelief. Someone must have really wanted our blossoms.  Our cute, but hungry, bunny rabbit perpetrator idea had just been squashed.

The humor of our situation quickly dissipated like a dark storm cloud unleashing a thunderstorm.  Gravity set in.  Someone, and not something, had stolen our squash blossoms right out from underneath our noses. Our other plants remained intact. The culprit had deliberately slithered over 20 feet through our front yard and let themselves through our primary gate to deflower our beloved plant.  They had made off like bandits.  As this second and more likely scenario began to take shape, we ruminated over our new realization.  Blankly staring down at our barren plant, we just stood there – quietly processing the adulteration that had occurred.  We were simply speechless.

The thought of someone stealing our garden produce brought out a bouquet of emotions. My temperature rose – I was mad, we had just been robbed. We had been denied our ultimate gardening reard, the harvest. I don’t know what it is like for you gardeners reading this, but for the two of us – we dream of gleaning from our garden for almost three quarters of every year.  Our garden inspiration gets renewed the day after our last harvest has just been completed.  This same dream carries us through the next growing season;  gardening is one of the few traditions that I have carried forward from my childhood.

Our little house on the prairie - my (then little) sister and I in our summer garden.

Gruesome images of historical [thievery] punishment methods (caning, severed hands, and hanging) flooded my mind.  Simultaneously, I was feeling upset and disenfranchised. I tried to think of better ways to guard our property.  Call the security guys.  Put in a better system with motion activated cameras, a water trigger spray (or how about an automated bow that shoots arrows? Just kidding Katniss).

As reality set in, a more reasonable option came to mind.  I could hang a warning sign, but seriously? The last time I had posted a sign on anything I owned was nearly twenty years ago after I bought a standard transmission car and I didn’t know how to drive a stick-shift. Worried about being distracted by tailgaters following me and stop signs on hilly roads (where I could accidentally grind my gears or stall my car), I printed a sign bearing large letters and I taped it to my rear window: “WARNING. I am learning to drive a stick-shift”.

This particular warning method proved to be quite persuasive.  For months (as I began to feel more comfortable driving my car), I’d watch people’s reaction in my rear view mirror.  A tailgater would peel-up behind me at a stop light, resting two inches away from my rear.  I’d watch their lips as they’d read my sign aloud.  I always knew when my message had been received:  almost always, their eyes would grow large and their pupils would dilate (fearing for the safety of their own car). My sign had obviously been effective because when traffic resumed, my tailgater was nowhere within sight.  Rarely did they pass – in fact, they were usually trailing thirty or forty yards behind me.   I’m not sure if they were just in disbelief?  Surprisingly, remembering this slice of life lifted my spirits.

I am now calm, but our squash blossom theft lingered with me – so I solicited the advice of a [police] friend.  Their advice to me was this:  don’t try to catch the thief yourself and put yourself into direct harm’s way – citizens’ arrests may not be your friend when someone is trespassing on your land and stealing from you.  You never know if the person will become unpredictable and how they will retaliate. Rather, strongly consider contacting the [non-emergency phone number] police with a license plate number and description of the person; discreetly take a (i.e., non-flash) photo of them in action.

Okay – that sounds like something I can do, but really? The whole situation has left me quite disenchanted.  What kind of a person steals someone else’s home grown produce anyway??

For those of you who still have squash blossoms, we had fun last year writing about how to harvest them and we made a squash blossom quesadilla.


I’ve decided to rule out buying squash blossoms at the market this week because my wound has still not yet fully healed.  So sorry, we’ll have to cook something else over the weekend and we’ll blog about it next week…

 

About Johanna

Johanna weaves together a love for global foods and wanderlust in Low Sodium Blog. Inspired by her foodie family, who met a number of serious health challenges and adapted to low sodium diets on a turn of a dime, Low Sodium Blog chronicles their (farm) source to table expeditions, culinary travel, low sodium recipes, healthy eating adventures, and more. She and her family live in Los Angeles, California, a great travel hub and culinary playground.

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Comments

  1. Johanna, that’s a horrible story. I can’t imagine someone breaking into your garden to steal squash blossoms. I hope you can figure out a way to secure your garden area better. And I hope your squash plants continue to produce new blossoms and squash. I love squash blossoms just dipped in a batter (similar to pancake batter) and fried. My grandmother fixed them for the grandchildren quite often. They were always a real treat.

  2. That’s horrible to think that someone would creep into your garden and steal your squash blossoms. I visited my local Farmer’s Market today and picked up a bunch to try the quesadillas. Can’t wait! Oh, and I hope you can catch the thief.

  3. Johanna says:

    Hi Amber and Sue – Thanks for your kind words. We were feeling absolutely awful about the whole experience. Thinking about my personal safety in and around my own home isn’t something that I’d normally think put at the top of my list. In fact, I’d be willing to [gentlemen's] bet that if we caught someone lurking around our house, trying to take them down (i.e., tackle, etc) would be my gut reaction. It would likely not [initially] occur to me to pick up the phone and call the [non emergency] police.

    Sometimes it’s good to walk through these “wake up events” from a distance. My personal takeaway was that I shouldn’t think about personally responding, esp. if we are getting robbed (whether it is at home or when we’re out on the road – i.e., travel – knock on wood this doesn’t ever happen) – just in case our thief is a loose canon and responds in an unpredictable manner. In actuality, personal safety is far more important than a handful of squash blossoms (or “stuff”).

    Amber – Good luck with the squash blossom quesadillas. We loved them. (The more you use the tastier they are).

    Sue – yes, fully agree. Squash blossoms are delicious dipped and fried. Before the low sodium “diet”, we used to stuff them with mascarpone cheese + Dungeness crab meat, dip (we used more of a tempura batter) and then fry them. Then I’d drizzle/dip them in a puree of tomatoes, onion, garlic and olive oil. I haven’t made those ones in years, but – it probably wouldn’t be too hard to convert into a low sodium recipe (well, minus the crab meat). Maybe I’ll dig out of this funk and (eventually get back on the horse).

    I’ve planned to lick my wounds by helping to pick more fruit with Food Forward this weekend (where garden gleaning is actually approved by the owner AND it goes to a good cause – our local food banks). Have a wonderful weekend ladies!

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