Friday, October 21, 2011

Product spotlight: Root Crops

Product Spotlight

Root crops

If you're thinking about expanding the length of your marketing season by growing more storage crops, don't neglect parsnips and scorzonera. These two root crops are gaining a following among foodies and finding their way onto creative restaurant menus.

Albion parsnip is new. It's our whitest variety with a long, tapered root. It needs the same kind of growing conditions as carrots — deep, friable soil and consistent water. It sweetens after a frost and can be stored in the ground until winter. Then it can be dug and stored for another month or two at 32°F and 90-100% humidity. At 120 days to maturity, this crop takes a long time but is worth the effort.

Enorma scorzonera is a vigorous variety of this little-known vegetable. It will mature in just 80 days but, like parsnips, can be stored in the ground where cold will make it sweeter. Scorzonera has black skin and white flesh. It should be scrubbed and cooked in its skin, after which the skin will easily peel off to reveal the tender white flesh.

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