Kikuza squash is a Japanese heirloom winter squash that dates back to the Edo period. The plants have a short vertical profile with dark green foliage that can run for ten feet or more. Each vine can set several pale-colored fruit that develop a light tan finish when mature. The flesh is sweet, dry and has nut-like overtones.
Kikuza is also known in Japan by a carelessly ribald name, "Chrysanthemum Seat." I won't offend anyone by telling the tale but I will offer two hints. The first is a Japanese play from the Kanze school entitled "Chrysanthemum Boy." It tells a 13th century story of a boy who became immortal by drinking the dew from a chrysanthemum flower. The second hint is the picture of an inverted Kikuza.
Kikuza have little or no presence in the American market place but a small farm in the East Bay recently trialed a patch of Kikuza. A famous restaurant snatched up their entire crop. My crop, however, is unclaimed and is lounging on their chrysanthemum seats in the Sonoma sunshine. It's enough to make a farmer want to grow Hubbard squash again. Well, almost.
These Kikuza squash were organically grown in my garden in the Valley of the Moon.
Seed source: Baker Seeds
Vegetables of Interest 2007