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Burdock, Okinawa Long (Organic)$3.50–$25.00
A variety originating in Okinawa, an island of southern Japan. The people of Okinawa are known for their long lives & health, which burdock may play a part. Often cooked in soups or pickled, it is known for its healing properties & high vitamin content. Beautiful flowers. The burdock root’s ability to penetrate heavy clay subsoil can help improve drainage, but be careful – once burdock is in your garden it is difficult to get it all out. Given to The Seed Ambassadors Project in 2006 by the proprietors of Urtegartneriet, a small Danish biodynamic seed company.
Parsley Root, Hilmar (Organic)$3.80–$6.80
Pure white, 8” half-long shaped root vegetable with a mild parsley flavor. Roots are broad at shoulders, tapering to a point. Very aromatic & great in soups or roasted in the oven. Hilmar really shines as a winter vegetable when it sweetens up after a frost. Plus it’s very cold hardy – it was one of the crops that overwintered outside during our record cold snap of December 2013 (lows of 5°F!). Leaves can also be eaten. Of the several varieties of parsley root we have tried, Hilmar is hands down the most vigorous – important for a root vegetable that, like parsnips, is relatively slow to start. Big strong tops make for good weed competitiveness, easy harvest & are nice for bunching. Sow in early June for harvest in October through February.
Salsify, Fiore Blu (Organic)$3.50–$12.50
Yet another delicious root crop common in Europe but rarely grown here in the US. Hopefully we can change that as salsify has much to offer! Roots grow to the size & shape of imperator type carrots but with a cream colored skin. Flavor is said to resemble oysters, & salsify is sometimes known as “oyster plant.” We find this variety to have a good mild flavor, making it very versatile in the kitchen. Young roots can be eaten raw, grated in salads. Full-sized roots are best cooked. Flowering shoots can be eaten like asparagus, & flowers can be eaten whole or used as garnish. Unharvested roots bloom with vibrant purple flowers in the second year, & have been planted for showy flowers alone. Known to be used medicinally for liver & gall bladder support. Produces best when direct sown April-May. Hardy to zone 5, this variety contributed greatly to the diversity of our winter CSA & we highly recommend it for the winter garden. Self-seeds freely if allowed to flower, which for us isn’t a bad thing.
Scorzonera, Hoffman’s Schwarze Pfahl (Organic)$3.50–$12.50
Aka Black Salsify. This root vegetable has black skin & mild-flavored white flesh. Leaves provide reliable winter greens, & bright yellow flowers in second year are edible. That’s right: three vegetables in one! Not only is this a standby & delicious winter food but it is a true perennial perfect for the permaculture garden. We found it to be an important addition to our winter CSA alongside the burdock & salsify. Young leaves are delicious in salad & older leaves are great lightly cooked. The leaves & roots both have a nutty lettuce-like flavor. One of the few vegetables that can go through 5°F without flinching & is reputed to survive -10°F! Hoffman’s is known for good size, shape, consistency & flavor. From German seed company, Bingenheimer Saatgut.