This Saturday, before heading to the Boulder Farmer’s Market, I ventured out to Teller farm, one of our two growing locations. At Teller, there is a spectacular back drop of Long’s Peak and the Front Range with a foreground of even rows of crops like cucumbers, zucchini, and melons. The vines are still subdued for the time being, behaving in their straight rows, but will soon spill over their neat edges and resemble a thicket of Kudzu. One must be careful not to trample the vines. If one is stepped on, it makes an unmistakable squish-popping sound.
I came here with one intent and one intent only— squash blossoms, vibrant orange squash flowers. These fragile blossoms are a delicacy with a succulent texture and subtle taste reminiscent of summer squash.
When harvesting these beautiful specimens, more often than not there is a buzzing surprise inside. This Saturday, almost every flower I gently twisted from the plant contained a jubilant honey bee. When I looked inside, I felt as if I was intruding and interrupting a private moment between the bee and the flower. Each bee was powered with an orange pollen as bright as the blossom itself. When a bee was present, I had to gently shake her out. Sometimes she would simply fly away and carry onto the next blossom, sometimes she would almost stumble out as if intoxicated and fall to the ground before coming to her senses and flying away.
The act of picking the blossoms inspired a simple joy for me — alone in this quiet field, basically picking flowers like a kid skipping through a field and witnessing an act of ecological importance. This quiet moment, however, had to come to an end as the time for market quickly approached. I gently loaded my bounty in the box truck and headed towards Boulder, my arms slightly itching from the spines on the squash leaves.