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October 19, 2013

Talk of the Times: Gloucester man grows a squash for the ages

Talk of the Times

Giusseppe Tocco of Gloucester has kept a vegetable garden all his life, but this summer’s bounty yielded an unusual harvest.

He noticed that two of his Italian squashes were getting longer — and longer and longer. So, his family urged him to enter one in competition at the Topsfield Fair, which he’d never entered before.

Sure enough, he had grown a winner. His largest gourd in the garden took home first prize in the home-garden vegetables category. It measured a staggering 831/2 inches long, as did his other large garden squash.

Tocco said he didn’t do anything different with the vegetable as it grew. He said Italian squashes normally grow to about 2 to 3 feet long and are good for eating. As for these, he’s just planning to save the seeds and plant them next year.

His garden also includes beans, tomatoes, peppers, eggplants and zucchini, and he likes to can and preserve his produce.

Art work at the Times

The Times is proudly displaying a new work of art these days, and it’s one with a distinctive Gloucester flair.

East Gloucester fishermen and artist Sam Nigro has, for the past five years, been painting some 40 to 50 used oars and presenting them to various local restaurants and other businesses as gifts.

Two weeks ago, Nigro’s friend — local businessman and former Gloucester City Councilor Jim Destino — brought Nigro’s latest creation to Whittemore Street and presented it to the Times.

The oar — a true work of art now mounted at the front desk, just inside the main entrance — depicts the newspaper’s masthead and the iconic Man at the Wheel statue, with the added wording “Serving Cape Ann,” just as it reads on the Times’ front page. In addition, the natural colors of the oar blend into Nigro’s work depicting both the sea and sky.

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