Growing seed for beets and chard (Beta vulgaris) is challenging in our Willamette Valley location due to its role as the global epicenter of GMO sugar beet seed production. All Beta seed lots that we sell were produced in isolated areas, far, far away from potential contamination.
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Beet, Chioggia (Organic)$3.80–$12.80
Beta vulgaris. Round Pink/White Rings. 65 days.
In our days as market growers, Chioggia beets were by far our customers’ favorite, and we loved them too. Dark pink on the outside, the inside features concentric rings of pink and white. The candy cane like appearance is as pretty as it is fun. But Chioggia charms the palate, too – much sweeter than red beets, with less of the “earthy” flavor that turns some people off from this nutritious root vegetable. Winter Chioggia beets are just about as sweet as candy. Plus, they don’t bleed as much as red beets when cooked, although the striping does fade away. Very good simply roasted with a little olive oil and salt. Green leaves. Heirloom originally from Chioggia, Italy, that has been in the US since the 1860s.
Seed produced by Alan Adesse in Junction City, Oregon.
Beet, Kamuolini 2$3.80–$9.80
Beta vulgaris. Round Red. 65 days.
Vibrant color, beautiful round shape and classic sweet beet flavor make this variety our ideal beet. Vigorous leaf growth makes this beet two vegetables in one, easy to pull and perfect to tie in bunches. Leaf stems have an intriguing magenta-purple tint. In our trials against the overly common Red Ace F1 hybrid we found Kamuolini 2 to have better shape, flavor, yield, color, and taller tops. The Baltic region is a center of beet diversity and one of its centers of origin, so it makes good sense that we would find our ideal beet in Lithuania. Bred by and given to The Seed Ambassadors Project by Dr. Rasa Karkleliene, a vegetable seed breeder at the Lithuanian Institute of Horticulture.
Seed produced by Abel Kloster and Tao Orion in Cottage Grove, Oregon.
Beet, Lutz Green Leaf$3.80–$9.80
Beta vulgaris. Round Red. 70-90 days.
An old standby winter storage beet with deep-red roots and pale green leaves. The most common Lutz strain available now has red leaves and stems – we are offering the original green-stemmed variety whose leaves have much better flavor. The variety has suffered from lack of stewardship, but our friend Avram Drucker of Garlicana in southern Oregon has been working hard to change this, and we offer his strain which has been reselected for size and firmness. Avram says, “If I had to pick only one [beet] variety for homesteading, there’s just no question that this is it.” Lutz Green Leaf is claimed by most, to be “not a pretty beet,” but we disagree, finding it to be quite pretty and amazingly sweet as well. Light green leaves are especially tasty for beet greens, and are good when young in salads or cooked up like chard when more mature. Word is roots stay tender even when very large (up to 12 lbs!) – I can’t imagine any beet being pretty at that size. Lutz Green Leaf has won us over.
Seed produced by Garlicana in Douglas County, Oregon.
Beet, Shiraz (Organic)$3.80–$35.00
Beta vulgaris. Round Red. 60 days.
Round red roots with red leaf stems and green leaves. Vigorous and uniform with smooth skin and tall tops, Shiraz is a good choice for market growers and home gardeners alike. Not quite as sweet as Lutz Green Leaf, but still quite tasty. Young leaves make a great addition to salad mix. Bred through a farmer and breeder collaboration with the Organic Seed Alliance, it was selected in organic growing conditions primarily for resistance to rhizoctonia dry rot (the most common cause of Ugly Beet Syndrome). For the full story check out: seedrevolutionnow.blogspot.com
Seed produced by Deep Harvest Farm on Whidbey Island, Washington.