WESTLAND, Mass. It’s a beautiful August day in this suburb west of Boston, with relatively cool temperatures and low humidity, but Todd and Mindy Boudin are sequestered inside their three-bedroom home with the curtains drawn. “We’re keeping a low profile,” Todd tells this reporter as he peeks through the blinds. “A lot of people are on vacation, but we don’t want to let down our guard.”
From the couple’s attitude, you might think that they were in a witness protection program or fearful of a home invasion, but the cause of their concern is something more mundane. “This is zucchini harvest time,” says Mindy in a hushed tone as a car slows down on their street, stops for a moment, then moves on. “We don’t want our lives ruined for months by somebody else’s bad fertilizer decision.”
Just say no!
Down state Route 30, the tragic consequences of a lapse in vigilance are apparent in the driveway of Mike and Cheryl Canon, who left an unlocked sub-compact car parked outside last night due to visiting relatives. “Don’t touch anything until the police get here, they’ll need to take fingerprints,” Mike tells his wife as he looks in the backseat window and sees mounds of zucchini piled high. “I don’t know what kind of sick individual would do a thing like this,” he adds, shaking his head.
“Gifts” of zucchini by home gardeners are ranked as one of the five leading causes of suburban angst, ranking slightly behind real estate taxes, septic system overflows and door-to-door evangelists, according to Suburban Government, a monthly aimed at town administrators. “There’s really nothing we can do,” says Mike DiBlosia, Westland’s Town Manager. “We tried to pass an ordinance against zucchini once and the crunchy-granola types were all over us like a duck on a June bug.”
Zucchini attacking child in crib.
The American Zucchini Council, the trade association that represents the interests of growers of the thin-skinned cultivar, fights anti-zucchini prejudice by publishing cookbooks and lobbying for zucchini rights in Washington and before state legislatures. “I don’t know why people have such a knee-jerk reaction to what we like to call ‘The Vegetable With 1,000 Uses,” say Aaron Brown, the group’s Executive Director. “I could eat zucchini frittata, zucchini loaf and ratatouille every day as long as I’m being paid $250,000 a year by our members.”
Miss Zucchini and Miss Zucchini Congeniality, 2018: The end of an era.
The group has in the past sponsored a beauty pageant that awards the title of “Miss Zucchini,” but will shift gears this year due to criticism that the contest promotes unrealistic body images among young women who seek to develop long, slender zucchini-like torsos in order to sway judges’ decisions. “We’re going for something more countercultural since the feminists are on our case,” says Brown. He clears his throat, inhales, and then joins with Wanda Peterkin, daughter of the largest zucchini grower in New England, in singing “If you’re going to San Francisco–be sure and wear a zucchini in your hair.”