When we moved to the Durango in 2016, our neighbors were super welcoming and kind. “You’ve picked a good neighborhood,” they told us. “We never lock our front doors, except during zucchini season, of course.”
The “of course” addition to that sentence is aimed at anyone who has ever gardened. Those who haven’t may not know how ridiculously prolific summer squash plants can be, spawning as much as 6- to 10-pounds of edible squash per plant each season. Left unpicked, these squash will grow and grow forever. OK, maybe not forever; a frost would certainly stop a zucchini from taking over the world. But, to give you some perspective, the Guinness Book of World Records holder for largest zucchini courgette was grown in Canada. It reached a super-human-like size of 8 feet 3.3 inches long! You might assume that zucchini was pumped full of growth hormones, or at the very least was adding creatine supplements to its diet to outperform all its fellow squashes. Think again. The farmer claims he didn’t use any fertilizer, including naturally occurring organic fertilizers like manure. He just gave it “plenty of water.” Hmmph.
The point being, it’s really easy to grow more zucchinis than you know what to do with. There are only so many ways to use them, too. Unlike other summer produce, which can be transformed into pickles, salsas, jams, sauces, and soups, zucchini doesn’t freeze or store well. You could turn them into zucchini pickles, which are delicious when used within a few days. But after a month in the fridge, they’re too soggy to eat, so forget about putting them up on the shelf. You go about making stir-fry instead, or having some fun baking, grilling, and roasting zucchini. You even turn ’em into zoodles and go low-carb for a minute. But, after a while, the stoke is no longer high, and you’re well over the flavor and texture of summer squash. You’ll try to pawn them off on your friends and families, but anyone who grows zucchini in their backyard has the same problem you have.
Luckily, someone in Pennsylvania created the August 8 holiday, marking it as the approved date to sneak some zucchini onto your neighbor’s porch. And why not? There are all kinds of silly food celebration days, like Don’t Cry Over Spilled Milk Day (February 11) and Lima Bean Respect Day (April 20, which shares another holiday that doesn’t exactly inspire me to eat lima beans, but I digress). So why not create a day for pawning off your garden wares to your neighbors?
Here’s how it works: Pack up your avalanche of zucchini into a duffel bag. I imagine comic book images of villains with overstuffed bags on their back, maniacal laughter filling the air as they triumphantly run away from the bank. You should probably dress the part, too. Definitely wear black, and probably a mask, too. A utility belt full of gadgets should absolutely be involved, just in case you need fight crime or scale a 20 story building while you’re out there.
Wait until the dead of night, but don’t wait too late. You don’t want to have to punch a few bears or wrestle with Durango’s larger-than-life raccoons to make sure you’re the first one on the porch. Somehow, the magic is gone if you sneak a zucchini onto a porch that already has one lying in wait. I mean, you could always add to the pile, so don’t give up if you’re the second or third to get there. Just create a green and yellow avalanche and whisper a victorious “Aha!” as you stick your neighbors with all your unwanted vegetables (not too loudly; you don’t want to wake anyone and get caught green-handed).
We would be remiss not to mention a few disclaimers before you start celebrating this ridiculous holiday. I wouldn’t suggest sneaking on anyone’s front porch in Vallecito; I can’t see gun-toting residents appreciating a midnight visit, and even though Batman is somehow bullet-proof, you are not. I’d also recommend being on the lookout for game cams. If you see one, go ahead and unmask yourself and give the camera a smile and wave. If the video ends up on the Durango Garage Sale site’s Facebook page, you want to at least look like a friendly creep. And, to appease the bear activists in the region, we recommend placing your sneaky zucchini in a bear-proof container first. It would be a pretty bad feeling to read about a zucchini-eating bear who mauled a local resident. Oops!
On second thought, maybe you shouldn’t participate in this holiday at all. Too many disclaimers, too much liability. Maybe just swing by Manna Soup Kitchen and donate the bounty to people who actually need it. Or perhaps you could just grow fewer zucchini plants so you don’t run into the problem in the first place.