Each year, our crop plan is filled with varieties that we have grown and loved. Varieties that we are attached to and cherish. That we love to eat and are delighted to offer our customers.
But, we can never help ourselves when we’re preparing our seed orders. We always try out new (or new-to-us) varieties.
Here are some of the varieties that we are really excited about this year (there are more….it was difficult to whittle them down to an appropriate length for a blog post). None of these pictures were taken by us since we haven’t grown them yet. If you click on the picture, you will get to the website the picture is from. If you click on the variety name, it will open up to the seed company we purchased that seed from.
Candy Stick Dessert Delicata. Delicata winter squash is a crop we grow every year. But this is a new variety for us (we’re growing 4 Delicata varieties this year). We’re extra-excited about this variety because it’s supposed to be extra sweet, with a unique, date-like flavour. It was also bred by Carol Deppe, a breeder and author whose books we love! We’re currently reading her new one, The Tao of Vegetable Gardening. Candy Stick Dessert Delicata is supposed to keep very well and retain its sweetness in storage. It also has a small seed cavity (which means more squash flesh).
Red Samurei carrot. We grow red carrots every year as part of our rainbow carrot mixes. However we usually only grow the red ones for fall harvest because that’s when they taste best. The Red Samurei carrot, however, is supposed to be good any time of year and sweeter than the other red carrot varieties. This makes me happy because red carrots add such a great colour to the rainbow bunches!
Stocky Red Roaster Pepper. This pepper comes to the world from organic farmer/plant breeder Frank Morton. This pepper has won rave reviews from farmers and chefs. Down on the west coast of the States, chefs request this variety by name. We’re hoping it does as well at our farm and will become a “name brand” in our neck-of-the-woods too!
Solar Flare, Pink Berkely Tie-Dye, Pork Chop tomatoes. I love to see plant breeders who are creating varieties based on flavour and uniqueness get recognition. And one of the plant breeders who has received plenty of well-deserved recognition is Brad Gates, from Wild Boar Farm. Stripey tomatoes, blue tomatoes, and other cool-looking tomatoes come from his on-farm breeding efforts. And these three in the picture above (with great names!) are ones we’re excited to try this season.
Sensation melon. It feels like every year, we become more and more obsessed with growing melons. Honestly, they’re not a particularly profitable crop. They take up lots of space and they need a lot of heat. But our farm seems to enjoy growing melons and we love eating them and offering them to our customers. It can be tough since most people think melon season is much earlier than it actually is here. Well, we have a few new varieties of melons we’re growing this season that we’re quite excited about. I didn’t want this blog post to be all about melons though so we chose this one as the ONE we’re most excited about (it was very hard to choose!). It has a gorgeous white flesh and unique flavour which Fedco seeds describes as “Very sweet, but not cloying, complex with haunting hints of hazelnut, amaretto and cinnamon.” So excited to eat it by the spoonful!
Bear Necessities Kale. When I first saw this picture, at the Eastern Canadian Organic Seed Growers conference, I was hooked. I knew I needed to grow this. So pretty and frilly. I think chefs, in particular, will go nuts over the garnish potential of this one. Kale, in general, is increasingly popular. This year, like the last, has offered kale growers a kale seed shortage, where some varieties (mostly the popular hybrids) are unavailable. It seems the time is right for new varieties to become popular!
Korean Hot Pepper. We love making kimchi! We’ve always made it with whatever hot peppers we had at the moment. And our kimchi has never tasted like traditional kimchi. We’ve learned that it’s all in the pepper. And this is the hot pepper that should be used in traditional kimchi. We are so excited to taste the difference!
Lime Basil and Lemon Basil. We decided to grow these because we want to eat them with chunks of watermelon! And maybe some other things too… These basils have a delicate citrus fragrance and flavour. Great for Southeast Asian cuisine, fish, poultry, and rice dishes. I’m also stoked to dry some for teas. And possibly for making seasoned vinegars (I always WANT to do this….it just never seems to happen. Maybe it will for you!).
Zinderella Lilac Zinnia. This zinnia is crazy pretty! I love zinnias in general and I’m excited for these “Scabiosa,”or “Cupcake” types. Watch out for these in our summer bouquets!
Sweet Alyssum. I’ve been interested in planting sweet alyssum between beds (in the pathways) after hearing about it’s use planted with lettuce to attract beneficial insects and control aphids. I’ve been concerned about using it between kale or other brassicas because sweet alyssum also hosts flea beetles, but have heard that some growers do plant it between kale and broccoli. We’ll see how it goes!
I’d love to hear what you’re excited to grow or eat this year!