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Veggies gone wild

Gastons Paul Ott brings blue ribbons back from state fair


News-Times Photo: Chase AllgoodAt age 93, Gaston resident Paul Ott tried two new things this year.

He grew snake squash and he entered some of his vegetables in the Oregon State Fair.

It was a winning combination. Ott’s enormous snake squash (similar to the 60-inch one pictured here), his three-foot Chinese long bean and his birdhouse gourd all won first-place awards. His black (Cherokee Purple) tomatoes took second.

Ott's adventure in vegetables began with his granddaughter Selina Carter, who lives with Ott on Springhill Road. Carter said her grandfather handles the gardening duties while she comes up with most of the ideas. “He gets subjected to my crazy whims.”

Snake squash — also known as “climbing zucchini” — was one of those whims.

The vegetable was new to them, but they’ve since learned it’s used a lot in Indian foods. “We’re getting this all off the Internet, that you can cook them,” Ott said.

His state fair adventure was conceived and managed by a friend, who saw his vegetables and encouraged him to enter. She even carted the vegetables down to Salem for him — and the blue ribbons back.




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