A Tale of Summer Squash

by | Aug 15, 2011 | Vegetable Recipes

My favorite summer squash dish

Many years ago, my best friend’s family farmed along Stanley Boulevard, which is a thoroughfare between the California cities of Livermore and Pleasanton. Taking advantage of the high volume of traffic along Stanley, they opened Hagemann Farm’s U-Pick veggie stand and quickly became THE PLACE in the Livermore Valley to buy the best sweet corn, tomatoes, and summer squash. At the time I was taking some classes at our community college and when I wasn’t at school, I worked at the veggie stand. I really enjoyed that job. I loved being outside all day, I loved picking the veggies, and during the fall I was able to use my creative abilities to decorate the veggie stand with Indian corn, gourds, and pumpkins.

One day while I was working at the veggie stand, one of the customers that had driven away backed up, stopped the car, and got out. The customer and his wife were frequent customers and I’m guessing in their 70’s. “You really need to go back to school,” he said. “We think you are a bright girl and you really need finish high school and then do something better with your life.” When I assured him I was not a high school dropout, that I was in college and apparently much older than he thought, he then wanted to fix me up with a German friend of his. “He’s a bit older than you, but he has money.” If I remember correctly, the German friend was about 60. Hmmm. Thanks, but no thanks. While working at the veggie stand I had lot of interesting encounters with people.

One evening after working at the veggie stand all day, Terry Hagemann and I picked some onions, sweet corn, and patty pan, yellow crookneck, and zucchini squash. We decided to use all of these ingredients to make a one pan meal for dinner. We cut up bacon and fried it. We sautéed chopped onions, cut the corn off of the cob and added the corn along with thinly sliced squash to the pan with the bacon, and sautéed it all until the squash started to brown along the edges. Terry and I thought our squash dish was one of the tastiest dishes we had ever eaten and we would continue to make it whenever the opportunity arose.

Sadly, in the early 90’s the Hagemann’s closed the veggie stand and moved to the Central Valley. And, sixteen years ago, in the August of 1995, my very good friend Terry died of breast cancer at the age of 39. 

Terry Hagemann tailgating at a 49er’s game

After my stint at the Hagemann’s veggie stand, I have an affinity for veggie stands and should probably have a bumper sticker warning people, “I Brake For Veggie Stands.”  Last week on the way home from the Amador County Fair, we stopped at one of our favorite veggie stands, the Fruit Bowl, on Highway 88. They had all kinds of squash that day, so I loaded up to make “the squash dish,” which I have not made in a long time.

Below is the recipe I used to make the squash dish. Even though I did not use the bacon this time, the flavor was still great. It is a simple dish, without a lot of herbs or spices, that allows you to really enjoy the flavor of freshly picked summer vegetables.

Summer squash: Yellow crookneck, patty pans, and zucchini

Summer Squash Dish


  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 or 2 ears of fresh corn, cut off the cob
  • 1/2 red onion or 1 Vidalia sweet onion, sliced
  • 6 – 8 summer squash (patty pan, zucchini, yellow crookneck, etc.), thinly sliced
  • Salt & pepper to taste


Heat olive oil in a large pan over medium high heat. Sautee onions in the olive oil until translucent. Add corn and cook for about three minutes. Add the summer squash to the pan. Be sure to flip the squash every so often so the squash cooks evenly. Add salt and pepper to taste. Cook the squash until the squash is starting to brown around the edges. Serve.

Sautéed onions

Fresh corn, cut off of the cob

Salt and pepper added to the cooking squash

NOTE: If you want to add bacon to this dish, cut bacon up into small strips and cook. You can use the bacon grease to sautée the onions instead of using the olive oil.