Orach, Red Flash (Organic)
Atriplex hortensis. 40-50 days.
We first learned about orach during our time at Horton Road Organics where its shocking red leaves were a key ingredient in their famous salad mix. Red Flash is a European selection that is a great salad mix variety with delightful magenta red leaves. The undersides of the lovely, heart-shaped leaves have a slight metallic shimmer and the flavor is spinach-like with a nice mineral depth. Orach is sometimes called mountain spinach and is a native European green that has been eaten for millennia. Like spinach, it also makes a good addition to a hearty pot of soup. The plants start slow but then grow quickly up to 6’ tall – a different habit than most other salad greens. We harvest bunches when plants are 18” or smaller, then pluck individual leaves for salad mix. Alternatively, harvest entire plants at baby stage. If you let orach go to seed, it will conveniently volunteer intermittently around the garden. Red Flash occasionally produces a green or bicolor plant. Our seed is bract free, making it easy to sow.
Best when direct sown, early spring or late summer/early fall, 2” apart in 12” rows. May also be sown indoors in pots for transplant 3-4 weeks after sprouting to 6” centers. Germination in 10-14 days.
Collect seeds when seed heads are fully dry. Thresh by hand or by dancing. Winnow to clean. Isolate from other flowering orach by ½ mile.