So I Give This Cop A Zucchini …

So I’m driving out of my community garden the other afternoon, my shocks straining with the weight of  zucchini when I pass a cop sitting in his car.  I knew what I had to do …

Various sized zucchini piled on a rustic wooden outdoor bench beside a vintage wicker picnic basket.

It was hot in the garden.  Even on days when people aren’t hiding in their air-conditioned homes or washing their sticky hands of the glaze of popsicles, it’s hot up at the garden.  I’m moving, running, bending, digging and hauling until I sweat no matter what the weather.

On this particular day, I’m going to say about a week ago, the bending and hauling revolved around zucchini. I wrote a post about it the other day actually. I was finally getting caught up on staking and pruning my zucchini plants, which led to the discovery of several more zucchini than I thought I had.

It’s Zucchini Season.

Zucchini, along with green beans and cucumbers are notoriously skilled at making themselves invisible. You do not want to play a game of hide and seek with a zucchini because they will always, always win. Honestly – they just appear out of nowhere. It’s terrifying.

I put all the zucchinis into my vintage wicker picnic basket (which I picked up at Hipsters R Us) and headed for the garden gate.

Along the way, I came across a fellow gardener who was also working in his plot.  I offered him some of my haul and because his zucchini hadn’t gone all Poltergeist on him yet, he accepted. 

Good.  I got rid of 2 of them and I wasn’t even out of the garden yet. If I could just bump into a herd of wild roaming vegetarians on the way home I’d be golden. 

A half-open vintage wicker picnic basket filled with freshly picked zucchini is sitting on the green grass.

I plopped the basket into my trunk, checked my feet for ticks and got into my car, pretending I wasn’t getting into my Volvo (which I love) but into this car (which I would love more and would carry infinitely more zucchinis.)

Pulling away from the garden, with just enough time to get home for a business call, I saw a parked police car. Inside that police car was a police officer.

I knew what I had to do.

I slowly pulled up right next to him and rolled my window down, just like we were about to take part in a drug deal!  He rolled his window down and looked at me with a tiny bit of suspicion that I was about to interrupt his dinner break.

What I said, in a weirdly loud voice was …


Blink, blink.

That was our initial exchange.  Utter confusion and the calculation of risks washed over his face as he tried to assess whether “zucchini” was code for I’m thinking of throwing a pie in your face.

I could see this had the potential to go sideways on me if I didn’t do some explaining. 

Me:  “I have a lot of zucchini in my trunk”.

Cop:  “O.K.”.

Me: “From my garden”.

Cop:  “Do you live in this town?”.

Me:  “Yes, but see that garden just back there is a community garden and we sometimes give away part of our produce if we have extra”.

Cop: “I don’t normally work this town”.

Me:  “O.K. well that’s alright. You can still have a zucchini.  It’s just that I have all these zucchini that I grew in that garden and if you’d like a couple I’m happy to get rid of them”.

Cop: “What else do people grow in that garden”.

Me:  “Well, lots of stuff.  Tomatoes, cabbages, cucumbers, potatoes … everything really.  We don’t grow pot though.”

Cop: “Well you could, it’s legal.”

Me:  “Actually no, it’s not. That’s public property owned by the city so you can’t grow weed in it”.

Cop:  “Oh.”

Me:  “Soooo … (thinking the whole time I have 30 seconds to make the 5 minute drive home to make it on time for my phone call)

Cop: “O.K., sure, why not. I’ll take a zucchini”.

Me:  “GREAT, I’ll just get them out of my trunk”.

I then hand over two large zucchini to my new police officer friend.

Again I get the blinking.  

Cop:  “Can I have 3?  When I go to the grocery store I always bring home 3.”

Me:  “Seriously?”

Cop:  “Kind of.”

Me:  “But you aren’t getting them from the grocery store, you’re getting them from a random street gardener.”

Cop: “O.K.  You’re right. These are bigger than grocery store zucchinis anyway, I’m sure it’ll be fine. I was just kidding.”

Me:  “Do you have any idea what to do with those zucchini?”

Cop: “No, not at all but my wife will. She’s the one who gets mad if I only bring home 2 zucchinis.”

Me:  “O.K., well those are the equivalent of 3 or 4 grocery store zucchinis so you’ll be fine. Nice chatting … 

Cop: “So, how does it work, how many people are in there, did you say you live in this town, how do you get a place in the garden, do you grow your own plants from seed, I bought cucumber plants this year and they were $3 each, that could get expensive, do you use fertilizer ….”

I answered all his questions and gave up on making it home in time for my business phone call. I’d just have to explain what happened.

Sorry I’m late, it’s zucchini season so I had to pull over a cop.”

Have a good weekend!



p.s. After all was said and done the officer thanked me profusely over and over for the gifted zucchinis. :)

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So I Give This Cop A Zucchini ...


  1. Jen says:

    I wasn’t sure quite where that story was going … but you’ll be pulled over all the time now you’ve gone public, better keep that boot stocked :)

  2. frank yandle says:

    I love your wit!

  3. Barb says:

    Missing my neighbor’s zucchini this year as we had so much rain this spring they didn’t get their garden in! But another neighbor overplanted cukes, we’re awash in those! Loved the way you chose to “make that cop’s day”!

  4. kelli says:

    You: …We don’t grow pot though.

    Cop: Well you could, it’s legal.


    But wait.

    Isn’t there a kid’s book called something along the lines of “…If you give a cop a zucchini…” 😉

  5. Grammy says:

    Something to make all gardeners feel superior: I never was around anyone who grew vegetables when I was growing up, but I desperately knew I wanted someday to have my own garden. When I finally was in a position to have a yard large enough to start one, and a life that was settled enough to tend one, I set out to begin. It was in the ’70s, I was embarking on my new marriage — one in which we both brought ready-made kids to the mix — and it seemed a great time to begin being able to dazzle my new family.

    I read somewhere that zucchini are very easy to grow, so a good thing for beginners. I decided to ensure success by starting my gardening life with just one very successful thing. I had no idea how big the plants got or what kind of yield to expect. I just knew it would be great. So I planted 12 zucchini plants. Yep. A dozen. For a family with two adults and 3 kids.

    The good news is that the zucchini all grew and thrived and I was beside myself with glee over what a green thumb I had. The not-so-good news is that I was determined not to ever waste a single one of them, but I didn’t really know a lot of people to give them to, and my friends and neighbors quickly let me know they had plenty. So that summer I made zucchini in every imagineable configuration, including, stuffed, grilled, in kabobs and stir-fry, and lots and lots of loaves of zucchini bread. Zoodles hadn’t been invented, yet, but I still used them all. With onions. With peppers. With tomatoes. With mushrooms. And for dessert — chocolate zucchini cake!

    The marriage has survived, but only because I promised the next Spring that I would never plant another zucchini. Not ever. So I have plenty of room to tend to the other veggies that I learned to grow over the years. I wish there had been a Karen when I was a newbie at it.

  6. Dougal Haggart says:

    Well done! And I’m sure you identify with this:

    Attack of the Squash People – Poem by Marge Piercy

    And thus the people every year
    in the valley of humid July
    did sacrifice themselves
    to the long green phallic god
    and eat and eat and eat.
    They’re coming, they’re on us,
    the long striped gourds, the silky
    babies, the hairy adolescents,
    the lumpy vast adults
    like the trunks of green elephants.
    Recite fifty zucchini recipes!

    Zucchini tempura; creamed soup;
    sauté with olive oil and cumin,
    tomatoes, onion; frittata;
    casserole of lamb; baked
    topped with cheese; marinated;
    stuffed; stewed; driven
    through the heart like a stake.

    Get rid of old friends: they too
    have gardens and full trunks.
    Look for newcomers: befriend
    them in the post office, unload
    on them and run. Stop tourists
    in the street. Take truckloads
    to Boston. Give to your Red Cross.
    Beg on the highway: please
    take my zucchini, I have a crippled
    mother at home with heartburn.

    Sneak out before dawn to drop
    them in other people’s gardens,
    in baby buggies at churchdoors.
    Shot, smuggling zucchini into
    mailboxes, a federal offense.

    With a suave reptilian glitter
    you bask among your raspy
    fronds sudden and huge as
    alligators. You give and give
    too much, like summer days
    limp with heat, thunderstorms
    bursting their bags on our heads,
    as we salt and freeze and pickle
    for the too little to come.
    Marge Piercy

  7. Barb says:

    Karen you really must put all of your extra funny posts together in a book. It would be deserving of a Stephen Leacock Award for Humour. I sure started my day with the giggles. Thanks.

  8. Jan in Waterdown says:

    Ok so I was hoping for a happy/hot ending where the cop was single and swept off his feet by your impromptu generosity. Still. Ya did a nice thing there 😎

  9. Nancy says:

    Wow, this is a great segue for the question I have for you and/or fellow Canucks. (Do y’all hate that? Sorry, if so.).

    We are visiting Southern Ontario and Quebec from the states. Last year Alberta and BC.

    The speed limits are so slow! And yet everyone goes so fast! We are adhering perfectly to the speed limits because we don’t have a Canadian driving permit. Even 18 wheelers and government type vehicles zoom past us. Certainly people in the states speed but *never* 18 wheelers. What’s the deal?

    Thanks. Don’t want to hijack your post, we live in our little motorhome and I have two petunias.

    • Jan in Waterdown says:

      Welcome to Canuckistan where the summers are hot so we gotta drive fast! If you’re on a “400” series highway (eg the 401 which goes east/west in southern Ontario) most people drive at least 20km/hour over the posted 100km/hour limit, even the cops. Many do way more than that around Toronto where driving is a contact sport and it takes a pair of brass balls to do it on a regular basis! You should be ok at 20 over on a major highway. Just watch out for the folks who insist on doing 100 (or less) in the middle lane.
      Where ya from? I’ll keep an eye out for you!

      • Nancy says:

        Hey thanks! We are leaving Quebec now. Thank goodness, they don’t know Canada is BI-lingual and road signs are driving me crazy. Who knew “blah blah enfants” meant “watch out for kids”. And all the construction signs. Wtf.

        • Jan in Waterdown says:

          Oh yeah Nancy, bilingualism is a rather touchy subject! The “language police” were going after “pizza” restaurants 🙄. Hopefully now you’ll be able to read all the road signs but with a soupçon of Quebecois! Safe travels eh?!

  10. Mitchell says:

    Can’t pass a story about a cop and a zucchini !!!! Wish I had that problem. Mine are still flowering, but no fruit yet. I staked them yesterday , so maybe that will help….they need to start “‘gettin’ it on!” so to speak. Maybe they are just shy. :)
    Mitchell (way down in New Mexico, USA)

  11. Joyce says:

    Our little town has no cops! Made lasagne using zucchini instead of noodles, Got my neighbor to take 3 zuchs yesterday. Some of that will go into her homemade dog food. I feed one to my chickens. I may be able to pass along some on Sunday.
    I swear I will no longer grow that many zucchini plants! All the cool kids grow zuchs and every year it gets harder to give them away.

  12. Lynn says:

    🤣😅😂 by the end of reading this post I was laughing so hard I could hardly see your words as tears were laughter were coming down in buckets. I have not laughed so hard in a long time, thank you Karen for your out standing humour and generosity.
    Since it is not his usual route he might just ask for it again due to the fact you gave him such a fantastic job of showing him garden friendship along with community responsibility ie ( knowing you could not grow pot in your community garden).
    Not everyone will approach a officer as they can be a bit intimidating in uniform for some. I always try too at least wish them a uneventful and safe day when come across one in uniform.

    • J says:

      I’ve walked up to speed traps in my neighborhood, with my dog, and thanked the cop for making the streets safer for dog walking, etc. From then on they all smile or do the chin bounce that signals a kindred spirit. Most folks like a kindness,,, And some backyard gardeners out here pass along excess fruit, vegies, hydrengia, to cops, librarians, and the local vet.

  13. Mary W says:

    My morning Joe and Karen – always makes a bright start. QUESTION: what do you do for white flies? I planted a herb/edible flowers garden outside my front door. It is fabulous. Although last week they were perfect, this Tuesday AM they were full of white flies – clouds of them!!! Under the leaves looked like frosting there were so many. Obviously I hadn’t looked underneath soon enough. I took a wash cloth last night and squished EVERY leaf both sides with Dawn and water mix. Will that work or keep them off – do I need to repeat? It was really time consuming. Next time I won’t use a micro cloth as it acted like velcro and stuck to leaves and buds like crazy. What do you do or are they not a problem in your garden/region. I’m in FL.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Mary. I’ve only had whiteflies outside once on a dwarf weeping beech tree. I actually found the best and easiest way to deal with them was to vacuum them. Just plain old, suck them up! It worked perfectly and they didn’t come back. ~ karen!

  14. linda in illinois says:

    great laugh for this morning. love your car.. God bless the civil service folks.. God bless you.. love you Karen. !!

  15. Irene says:

    Funny woman. Here you are banging ooon and oooon about how you never know what to do with all the zucchini, and yet you wouldn’t give him another? I would have thought you’d be handing over armloads! :-D

  16. Emeraldwednesday says:

    I realized not long ago that I had subconsciously chosen to grow lemon cukes, yellow summer squash, and wax beans…. because they’re all yellow, and therefore a bit easier to spot amongst the leaves when ripe. My subconscious is smarter than I am.
    (Note: the beans and squash still manage to play hide and seek, however.)

  17. Mary Lou says:

    What an enjoyable read.. you’re a great story teller.
    I can just see that cop ‘blink blink’.🤣🤣🤣

  18. David in Oakville says:

    Weird x infinity!

    I think you should have ponied up the 3rd zucchini. There is no telling what cosmic imbalance – marital discord was created by the cop coming home 1 zucchini shy. I am thinking the wife asks him to be reassigned away from “community garden girl” or next shift she is riding shotgun… literally!

  19. Marilyn Meagher says:

    Too funny , that’s probably the only cop in captivity around these parts …

  20. Christina B says:

    You bring so much joy to my life… in the weirdest zucchini ways! I can’t imagine the conversation he had with his wife about this when he got home lol

  21. Janet Dykstra says:

    I am a flower gardener. I raise a few Monarchs too. I do not have a vegetable garden but grew up tending one and the kids each do. (Our daughter sells her zucchini to the local grocery store. I’ll have to tell her to watch for cops.) Still, I would NOT miss a single one of your posts, Karen. As we sip our morning coffee, I read your new pearls of wisdom to my husband and we begin our day with a smile (and some great information). Thank you for starting our day right!

  22. danni says:

    I put 2 in zucchini plants this year, one each in the corner of a raised bed, not expecting them to even make it to flowering because of squash bugs. They are staked and since they are all by themselves and not in a gang I can see everything going on with them. Then the other day when watering GHAAAA WHAT THE?!?? Practically tripped over one that was casually hanging out the side! I walk my garden every day, even if only to observe and eat dinner al fresco off the vines, and I’m telling you this thing came out of NOWHERE!
    I’m kinda scared….

  23. Susan T Blake says:

    Sigh. Those zucchini plants look so innocent in their 4-inch pots at the nursery…

  24. Susan says:

    I love to start the morning with a laugh and this was a great one. Let’s just hope his wife is not made at him for not bringing home 3! Seriously, I have not been able to grow a single zucchini this year, but my tromboncino are are a good replacement.

    Have you heard of bitter squash/pumpkin that can make you ill? I hadn’t before this year but it can happen if you have self-seeded squash/pumpkins that have cross-pollinated with gourds. I grew gourds last year and my compost was full of seeds so suddenly had lots of squash/pumpkin plants that did not look like my usual butternut. Lesson – buy new squash seeds every year – they are promiscuous little devils.

    Hope your client understood – if they had a garden, they would.

  25. Darlene says:

    That’s a great story Karen. You’re the perfect ambassador for your town. He will always remember your kindness.
    Was in my garden today and thought about what I learned about leeks from you. Mine are growing great. I’m looking forward to pulling them out, snipping, and replanting. Should be interesting. First time leek grower here.
    Realy enjoying your website and emails.
    Nova Scotia

  26. Ella says:

    Hey! I’ll take any extras you wanna give me!!

  27. Meg says:

    hahah this is great! maybe he’ll get a plot, too!

  28. Moose says:

    I don’t get it. Why didn’t you just give him 3? It’s not like there weren’t at least 3 more back in the garden that you missed.

  29. Jani Wolfe says:

    Thank God that you didn’t pull it out of your trunk and tell him to put his hands up because you had a loaded zucchini!!

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